‘Unceasing Death, Destruction, Suffering’ of Russian Federation’s War on Ukraine Must End, Senior Humanitarian Affairs Official Tells Security Council
Many Delegates Express Concern Over Human Rights Violations, Strikes on Civilians
Detailing the death and destruction in the nearly two-year war in Ukraine, a senior UN official urged all parties to spare all civilians and civilian objects and facilitate the swift and unhindered provision of humanitarian relief during his briefing to the Security Council today, emphasizing that what Ukrainians need, above all, is an end to the devastating war.
Ramesh Rajasingham, Director of the Coordination Division, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, reported that at the latest count, more than 9,900 civilians have been killed since the start of the invasion. “People’s lives are dominated by the constant sound of air raid sirens, as unrelenting air strikes rain down and destroy civilian objects,” he said, adding that the daily routines of those near front lines now include picking their way around land contaminated by landmines. Voicing concern about the approaching winter, he noted: “Significant damage and destruction of critical infrastructure continues to severely impact access of the civilian population to electricity, heating, water and telecommunications.”
He further detailed the impact of the Russian Federation’s strikes on civilians, especially children, women and vulnerable groups, as well as on civilian infrastructure. He stressed that under international humanitarian law, parties must take constant care to spare all civilians and civilian objects, including homes, schools, hospitals and other essential infrastructure. Voicing concern about the staggering levels of hunger around the world, he urged the Council to do everything in its power to prevent any broader escalation of the situation in the Black Sea, which could have far-reaching global consequences on global food security.
Pointing to the plight of civilians in areas under temporary Russian military control and whom the UN is unable to reach at any adequate scale, he said all parties must allow and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief and ensure that personnel have the freedom of movement required for their work. “But what the people of Ukraine need more than anything else is for this devastating war — with its unceasing death, destruction and suffering — to be brought to an end,” he said.
In the ensuing discussion, many Council members lamented the devastating toll of the Russian Federation’s invasion on civilians and civilian infrastructure. While some called for a cessation of hostilities and dialogue and negotiations, others called directly on Moscow to end the war and withdraw its troops from Ukraine.
Malta’s representative said the Russian Federation has been violating the Charter of the United Nations since the beginning of its war of aggression, and with its shelling deliberately targeting civilian populations and civilian infrastructure, also inflicting untold suffering on Ukraine. “Last week’s Ukraine peace formula meeting, which was held in Malta, is a clear example of the international community’s desire to reach a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine,” she said, adding that this can only be achieved if Moscow withdraws completely and unconditionally from the entire territory of Ukraine.
Ecuador’s representative pointed to the deleterious effect of Moscow’s invasion on agriculture and livelihoods in Ukraine, with billions lost to households, as well as the destruction of equipment, crops and agricultural land. He reiterated calls to the parties to abstain from using explosives in populated areas. Voicing concern about the human rights violations and abuses reflected in the report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, he stressed: “Such violence cannot be tolerated in any region of the world.”
Ghana’s representative, in a similar vein, expressed serious concern with reports of several allegations of sexual and gender-based violence committed against women and girls. Such violations must be treated and prosecuted like other war crimes, she said, adding: “There must be no impunity in Ukraine, and we value a holistic approach to accountability involving a deliberate focus on providing justice and support to victims.”
Several speakers, including the representatives of Gabon, China and Brazil, urged the parties to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law. The latter called for the cessation of hostilities and, joining the delegates of Mozambique and the United Arab Emirates who called for direct negotiations, stressed that the resumption of dialogue between the parties is both essential and urgent to reverse the course of the war.
Echoing concerns about the fast-approaching winter and the almost 4 million people, living in areas under the Russian Federation’s current military control, who remain out of reach of humanitarian assistance, the Head of Delegation of the European Union said his bloc will intensify the provision of humanitarian and civil protection assistance to Ukraine, including equipment such as power generators, power transformers, mobile heating stations, and high-voltage and lighting equipment. Like other speakers who voiced concern about global food security, he expressed support for all efforts to facilitate exports of Ukraine’s grain and other agricultural products.
The representative of the Russian Federation said that the tragedy of the population of Ukraine is very multifaceted, dating back to the Western-inspired coup in 2014 and growing worse every day by the “Kyiv regime’s” desire at any price to serve Western geopolitical interests to weaken Moscow. Addressing the allegedly indiscriminate Russian attacks, he said: “Precision strikes target exclusively military objects or objects of infrastructure related to the military potential of the “Kyiv regime”. He called on Western States to “namely stop the criminal neo-Nazi Zelenskyy regime from sacrificing the Ukrainian people on the altar of unrealistic geopolitical plans of the United States to weaken Russia.”
Ukraine’s representative, countering that assertion, also pointed to the devastating impact of the Russian Federation’s attacks on civilians, civilian infrastructure and the environment. “It is crucial for Russia to understand that the international community is keenly aware of all its heinous crimes and atrocities, and they will not go unpunished.” Further noting that Russian propaganda continues to actively promote hatred and violence against Ukraine, he expressed gratitude for Malta’s organization of the third peace formula meeting on 28 October, emphasizing that ending the Russian Federation’s war of aggression will send “a powerful message that peace is achievable and international law wins”.
MAINTENANCE OF PEACE AND SECURITY OF UKRAINE
RAMESH RAJASINGHAM, Director of the Coordination Division, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, speaking on behalf of the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, briefing the Council on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, said: “People’s lives are dominated by the constant sound of air raid sirens, as unrelenting air strikes rain down and destroy civilian objects… Near front lines, people’s daily routines now include picking their way around land contaminated by landmines”. At the latest count, more than 9,900 civilians have been killed since the start of the invasion. As these are only the figures the Office for Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (OHCHR) has so far formally verified, the actual toll is certainly higher, he added. “Significant damage and destruction of critical infrastructure continues to severely impact access of the civilian population to electricity, heating, water and telecommunications,” he said, voicing concern as winter approaches, and temperatures start to drop towards ‑20°C.
Since the start of the invasion, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also verified more than 1,300 attacks on health care, he continued, highlighting that this is more than 55 per cent of all attacks against health care in the world over the same period. Noting that 111 health care workers and patients have been killed and many more injured, he said that in some parts of the east and south, services have been decimated as not even half of hospitals or clinics remain functional. Humanitarian organizations have not been spared, and the operating environment has become more dangerous, he said, reporting that the number of humanitarian aid workers killed has more than tripled from four in 2022 to 14 so far in 2023. He reiterated that under international humanitarian law, parties must take constant care to spare all civilians — including humanitarian personnel — and civilian objects, including homes, schools, hospitals and other essential infrastructure. Indiscriminate attacks are strictly prohibited, he added.
Noting that strikes by the Russian Federation have continued on port infrastructure on the Black Sea and the Danube River, he said Ukraine has nonetheless reported a growing number of vessels entering and departing from its Black Sea ports via a temporary corridor announced in August, following the Russian Federation’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative. “At a time of staggering levels of hunger around the world, it is imperative that all sources of food supplies are safely and sustainably connected to global supply chains,” he stressed, appealing once again to the Council to do everything in its power to prevent any broader escalation of the situation in the Black Sea, which could have far-reaching global consequences on global food security. Currently, some 18 million people — more than 40 per cent of the Ukraine’s population — need some form of humanitarian assistance, he said, adding that 10 million people also remain displaced, either internally or as refugees in other countries.
“The war is robbing Ukrainian children of education — the stability and safety they need during the critical developmental period of their lives,” he emphasized, noting that the crisis has also further exacerbated existing gender inequalities and discrimination, with women and girls facing heightened risks of gender-based violence and limited access to services. More than 500 humanitarian organizations — the majority of which are local organizations — have reached 9 million people with life-saving aid in the first nine months of 2023. This has been enabled by substantial donor contributions to the 2023 Ukraine Humanitarian Response Plan — more than $2 billion has been received against requirements of $3.9 billion for this year. The humanitarian community is putting into effect its Winter Response Plan, which focuses on providing support to front-line communities, those in hard-to-reach areas and in collective centres. Voicing concern about the plight of civilians in parts of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts under the temporary Russian military control and whom the UN is unable to reach at any adequate scale, he stressed that all parties must allow and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need and ensure that personnel have the freedom of movement required for their work.
While the humanitarian community will continue to do everything it can to assist the people of Ukraine, he stressed: “But, what the people of Ukraine need more than anything else is for this devastating war — with its unceasing death, destruction and suffering — to be brought to an end.”
HERNÁN PÉREZ LOOSE (Ecuador), insisting on the need for the parties to fully uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law, expressed concern about the seriousness of the human rights violations and abuses reflected in the report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine. “Such violence cannot be tolerated in any region of the world,” he said, calling on the parties to protect humanitarian workers and, in particular, on the Russian Federation to facilitate safe humanitarian access to the areas under its temporary occupation. “The impact of the invasion of the Russian Federation continues to have a deleterious effect on agriculture and livelihoods in Ukraine, with billions lost to households, as well as the destruction of machinery and equipment, storage facilities, crops, inputs and agricultural land,” he noted, reiterating calls to the parties to abstain from using explosives in populated areas. “We are also closely following the situation of minors who were transferred, and we issue a call to protect their rights and facilitate their return,” he stressed.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France), noting that the toll of the Russian Federation’s war of aggression continues to worsen, said that, just on 25 October, its air strikes in western Ukraine destroyed dozens of homes, schools and other civilian infrastructure. Back in 2022, Moscow’s troops had launched waves of air attacks, deliberately targeting energy infrastructure. The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, established by the Human Rights Council, denounced these indiscriminate attacks against civilians and critical infrastructures. On Ukrainian territory, nearly 17 million people need humanitarian assistance, he observed, adding that Moscow’s aggression has already caused at least 23,000 civilian victims, including 1,000 children. This figure represents only a fraction of the actual toll, as the verification process has encountered immense difficulties, including the inability to access areas under Moscow’s military control. Further, he expressed support for the UN efforts to re-establish a secure export corridor in the Black Sea for Ukrainian agricultural products for vulnerable countries.
ROBERT A. WOOD (United States), detailing the impact of the Russian Federation’s attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure, called on the international community to continue to provide essential humanitarian support to Ukraine, including supporting its efforts to restore its energy grid. The United States will continue to lead the Group of Seven Plus (g7+) in coordinating this aid to the energy sector, he said, noting that it has provided nearly $2.8 billion in humanitarian assistance both inside Ukraine and in the region since February 2022. It will also continue to assist winterization efforts. He pointed out, however, that as the Russian Federation’s war of aggression rages on, Ukraine’s humanitarian needs continue to grow. Noting that the United Nations revised winterization plan calls for $435 million in funding to help keep more than 1.7 million civilians in Ukraine warm, dry and fed during the winter season, he called on the international community to ensure that funding appeals are met.
FERIT HOXHA (Albania) said 20 months of uninterrupted war have caused extreme civilian harm leaving millions in Ukraine without access to food, water and other essential supplies. Civilians continue to be cruelly caught in the conflict with almost 23,000 casualties since the start of the war. Further, homes, schools and hospitals are constantly targeted by missile and drone attacks. The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that one in three Ukrainian households is food insecure, while the job market has been decimated. War destroys farms. This is particularly damaging in a part of the world known as the breadbasket of Europe. The humanitarian situation is expected to further deteriorate in the coming months, with the winter and freezing temperatures bringing additional challenges and risks to people. Albania reiterates its call for the Russian Federation to stop the war, withdraw its troops and seriously engage in a genuine, just peace process.
KHALILAH HACKMAN (Ghana), referring to the continuing attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, emphasized the binding obligations on parties in armed conflict to respect and adhere to applicable rules of international law. “As the cold season approaches once again, we highlight the need for early interventions to mitigate the harsh conditions of the weather, especially for the women, children, the sick and aged displaced from their homes,” she said, expressing serious concern with reports of several allegations of sexual and gender-based violence committed against women and girls and reiterating calls for such violations to be treated and prosecuted like other war crimes. “There must be no impunity in Ukraine, and we value a holistic approach to accountability involving a deliberate focus on providing justice and support to victims,” she stressed, reiterating the call for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
EUFRÁSIO GOUVEIA (Mozambique) underscored that conflicts remain the major driver of humanitarian crisis and the great majority of casualties in present-day conflict are civilians. Whatever measures the international community agrees on will not prevent humanitarian demands if that does not include the cessation of hostilities. Accordingly, he emphasized that “conflict-driven humanitarian problems require political solutions”. Humanitarian aid can only provide temporary relief, but it cannot address the root cause of the problem. A political solution based on cooperation is, therefore, necessary to resolve the underlying issues and prevent future conflicts. Against this backdrop, he called to the contending parties to immediately return to direct negotiations, as that is the only way to reach a lasting peace. “To that end, it is important to give peace initiatives a chance,” he stressed, noting that they require commitment from all parties involved.
GHASAQ YOUSIF ABDALLA SHAHEEN (United Arab Emirates) said that after 18 months of unrelenting war in Ukraine, 11 million people have been displaced and more than 9,500 people have been killed, 545 of them children. Ukraine’s ports were also damaged by repeated strikes, reducing its ability to export grain and other food items, keeping prices stubbornly high around the world and impacting the lives of the world’s poorest people. Winter will soon begin, highlighting the need for civilians to have access to electricity and heating. She emphasized that civilians must never be a target. Further, allowing the war to go on without a just and lasting resolution will only prolong the humanitarian suffering of the Ukrainian people. There is no military solution to this conflict, and only direct negotiation will produce a sustainable peace between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom) called on the Russian Federation to allow humanitarians to operate safely in temporarily Russian-controlled territories. Echoing concerns about the harm that the Russian Federation’s invasion is doing to Ukrainian children, she emphasized that the international community, including the UN, must continue to support Ukrainian organizations and volunteer networks which remain the primary humanitarian responders in those parts of the country. Moscow’s attacks on Ukraine’s ports and grain infrastructure, which destroyed over 280,000 tons of grain in a month — enough to feed well over a million people for a year — are clearly intended to block Ukrainian grain exports, which are crucial to global food security and the work of WFP, she said. She called once again on the Russian Federation to comply fully with its obligations under international humanitarian law, allow humanitarians to operate safely and stop using food as a weapon of war. Moreover, it must end its illegal invasion of Ukraine.
FRANCESCA MARIA GATT (Malta) said that since the beginning of its war of aggression, the Russian Federation has been violating the fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations. “With its shelling deliberately targeting civilian populations and civilian infrastructure, the Russian Federation is also inflicting untold suffering on Ukraine,” she said, underscoring that this war is also having a multilayered impact on men, women and children, and is affecting people’s mental and physical health and livelihoods. Pledging to support the Ukrainian people by providing humanitarian aid, she said her country remains firmly committed to ensuring that the Russian Federation is held fully accountable for all its crimes. “Last week’s Ukraine peace formula meeting, which was held in Malta, is a clear example of the international community’s desire to reach a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine,” she said, adding that this can only be achieved if Moscow withdraws completely and unconditionally all its forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine.
GENG SHUANG (China) said “there are no winners in any war”, as they only bring suffering to innocent people. The escalating war in Ukraine has already resulted in the destruction of critical civil infrastructure and shortages of water, electricity and heating in many conflict zones, with another winter approaching. Calling on the parties to the conflict to comply with international humanitarian law, he underscored the need to protect civilians and promote the repair of civilian infrastructure. The crisis in Ukraine has affected global food and financial security, with developing countries bearing the brunt. Accordingly, he called on the countries concerned to revoke unilateral sanctions and minimize the negative spillover of the crisis in Ukraine. China has always called for a ceasefire and an early political settlement of the crisis to gradually create conditions for the resumption of peace talks, he said.
CHRISTOPHE NANGA (Gabon) said the war in Ukraine is about to move into its second winter. The needs of those already facing precarity as a result of the continued fighting will undoubtedly increase, particularly in the east and the south of the country, where the fighting is intensifying. Further, statistics recording grain exports from Ukrainian ports show a halving since the same time in 2022 as a direct consequence of the suspension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. He reminded combatants of their obligations under international humanitarian law, particularly regarding the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure. Following the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam, those living in the region are facing a particularly alarming humanitarian situation. He reiterated Gabon’s call on countries with an influence over the belligerents to activate diplomacy, and to engage in good faith negotiations so as to give a chance to peace and a peaceful coexistence.
PASCALE CHRISTINE BAERISWYL (Switzerland) said although the international community’s attention is now drawn to another conflict, it cannot be forgotten that half of Ukraine’s remaining population needs help, affirming her country’s continued efforts to contribute to Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction. Calling once again on the Russian Federation to cease all combat operations and withdraw its troops, she underlined the Independent International Commission’s recommendation that calls upon the Russian Federation to cease all acts of violence against civilians. Voicing concern about the impact of freezing temperatures on vulnerable groups, she stressed that rapid and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid must be guaranteed, including in the regions under Russian occupation. Switzerland will continue to support humanitarian actors by making financial contributions, sending relief supplies and seconding humanitarian experts to the region, she said. Stressing that the safety of shipping across the Black Sea remains crucial, she welcomed the UN’s ongoing efforts to facilitate food and fertilizer exports from Ukraine and the Russian Federation to world markets.
ISHIKANE KIMIHIRO (Japan) expressed deep alarm that as of September, OHCHR reported 27,449 civilian casualties, with 9,701 fatalities. However, actual numbers may well be significantly higher. Also, 5.1 million Ukrainians are displaced, with over 116,000 facing the rigors of winter in displacement camps. Accordingly, he called on the Russian Federation to withdraw immediately and unconditionally from the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine. Detailing Japan’s support for Ukraine, including humanitarian assistance and winterization assistance to vulnerable people, he said it provided two autotransformers to bolster Kyiv’s power infrastructure, benefiting nearly half a million citizens. Looking ahead, Ukraine’s medium- and long-term recovery and reconstruction are vital. Japan’s support will focus on mine action, debris clearance, revitalizing livelihoods, including enhancing fundamental utilities such as electricity, recovery of agricultural production and industrial development, and strengthening democracy and governance.
VASSILY A. NEBEBZIA (Russian Federation) said that the tragedy of the population of Ukraine is very multifaceted, dating back to the Western-inspired coup in 2014 and growing worse every day by the “Kyiv regime’s” desire at any price to serve Western geopolitical interests to weaken Moscow. “Stop being ‘anti-Russia’ and return to normal, civilized and good neighbourly development,” he called, underscoring that Ukrainian air defence missiles that hit civilian objects are presented by Kyiv and its puppeteers as Russian strikes, contrary to the facts and video evidence. Speaking about casualties and destruction in the Donbas and Azov region, he said that “between February 2022 and September 2023, the territory of the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ was subjected to artillery and missile strikes by the Armed Forces of Ukraine more than 25,000 times.” During this time, 4,712 civilians died on the territory of the “republic”, including 139 children, he said, adding that in total, from May 2014 to September 2023, more than 9,000 civilians died in the republic alone, including 230 children.
Turning to the allegedly indiscriminate Russian attacks, he urged to watch videos about the restaurant and club scene in Kyiv, Odesa, Kharkiv and other Ukrainian cities. “State Government buildings and other municipal buildings are practically everywhere working normally, transport is running, schools and hospitals are operating,” he noted, mentioning the exception of those objects that were damaged as a result of Ukrainian air defence actions. “Precision strikes target exclusively military objects or objects of infrastructure related to the military potential of the “Kyiv regime”, including ammunition depots and the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine that are disguised as shops, hotels, grain stores,” he stated, calling on Western States to do one good thing for the Ukrainian people, “namely stop the criminal neo-Nazi Zelenskyy regime from sacrificing the Ukrainian people on the altar of unrealistic geopolitical plans of the United States to weaken Russia.”
NORBERTO MORETTI (Brazil), Council President for the month, speaking in his national capacity, said that after 20 months of fighting in Ukraine, the number of civilian casualties continues to increase, yet a solution is no closer. Brazil shares the concern expressed by other Council members about the hardship the Ukrainian population will be subjected to in the coming months as a drop in temperature aggravates the already dire condition. He strongly condemned attacks against energy and transport infrastructure and residential areas, and reminded the parties of their obligations under international law and international humanitarian law. Further, Brazil calls for the cessation of hostilities and the resumption of dialogue between the parties, which is both essential and urgent to reverse the course of the war. His country believes that the international community has an important role to play by exerting its influence with the parties to find a way out of the crisis. He welcomed the efforts of other international actors and said Brazil remains willing to contribute to initiatives towards a peaceful settlement.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA (Ukraine) reported that nearly 5 million Ukrainians have been registered as internally displaced persons, placing a heavy burden on host communities. Those living in areas adjacent to the front line suffer from limited access to basic services, food, water, hygiene and medical care. Recalling the Russian Federation’s unabated terrorist attacks against the energy infrastructure last winter, he thanked the UN and donors for programmes to assist his Government in preparation for the winter season. It is imperative to obtain additional air defence systems to safeguard critical facilities during the winter, he stressed. The Russian Federation’s war of aggression against Ukraine has also caused an environmental catastrophe, amounting to over €55.6 billion. To date, more than 2,500 cases of environmental damage have been recorded, and 252 cases of environmental war crimes investigated, he added. Ukraine remains one of the most heavily mined countries, he pointed out, noting that approximately one third of the territory poses danger due to Russian mines and unexploded ordnance.
Detailing Moscow’s various attacks against civilians, he stressed: “It is crucial for Russia to understand that the international community is keenly aware of all its heinous crimes and atrocities, and they will not go unpunished.” He invited all delegations to support the annual draft resolution of the General Assembly on the human rights situation in Ukraine. Noting that Russian propaganda continues to actively promote hatred and violence against Ukraine, he pointed to the “Kremlin regime consistently conditioning Russians to view genocide as normal and acceptable”. “Ukraine wants peace more than anyone else,” he emphasized, urging the full restoration of his country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Voicing deep gratitude for Malta’s organization of the third peace formula meeting on 28 October, among other collaborative efforts, he said ending the Russian Federation’s war of aggression will send “a powerful message that peace is achievable and international law wins”.
BJÖRN OLOF SKOOG, Head of Delegation of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, underscored that Moscow’s ongoing campaign of systematic air strikes against civilian objects and critical infrastructure in Ukraine must stop. These inhumane attacks only aim to increase human suffering and deprive Ukrainians of electricity, heating, food, medical care and water, as well as destroy its grain export capacities. Almost 4 million people, living in areas under the Russian Federation’s current military control, remain out of reach of humanitarian assistance, he observed, calling on that country to ensure safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all areas under its temporary control. Ukraine is today the most heavily mined country in the world, with 30 per cent of its territory requiring survey and clearance, he said, adding that this contamination of landmines and remnants of war poses a serious threat to the lives of civilians, in particular children.
Turning to winterization efforts, he said temperatures will soon be below freezing in Ukraine. In 2022, Moscow’s attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure left millions of civilians without access to heat, electricity and water during the harsh winter months. Similar attacks have already been reported over the past weeks, such as the one on the Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plant. Accordingly, the European Union will intensify the provision of humanitarian and civil protection assistance to Ukraine, including equipment such as power generators, power transformers, mobile heating stations, and high-voltage and lighting equipment, to help the country and its people face yet another winter at war. Further, he stressed that the Russian Federation continues to weaponize food and undermine global food security, voicing support for all efforts to facilitate exports of Ukraine’s grain and other agricultural products to the countries most in need, notably in Africa and the Middle East. In this regard, the Solidarity Lanes through the Union have become a lifeline for global food security: between May 2022 and August 2023, they have allowed Ukraine to export over 53 million tons of agricultural products.