9600th Meeting* (AM)

‘No Region of Ukraine Spared’ by Moscow’s War on Ukraine, Senior Official Tells Security Council, Reporting of Widespread Destruction, Civilian Deaths

Alarmed by the Russian Federation’s intensified attacks across Ukraine, including on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant on 7 April and Kyiv’s largest power plant today, speakers at a Security Council meeting once again voiced concern about the rising death toll and deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country and demanded Moscow to cease its strikes against civilians and civilian infrastructure, as UN senior officials urged respect for international humanitarian law and an immediate end to the war.

“Since our last briefing to this Council almost a month ago, Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities and towns have become a daily destructive pattern,” highlighted Miroslav Jenča, Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Central Asia, and the Americas.  Such attacks include intense and systematic targeting of Ukrainian energy infrastructure across the country, he added.

“We are appalled by the increase in civilian casualties as a result of these relentless attacks,” he said, reporting that, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), at least 126 civilians were killed and 478 injured in March.  At least 57 children were killed or injured in March alone, doubling the number from February.

Noting additional countrywide attacks overnight and this morning targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, he reported that since February 2022, OHCHR has recorded 10,810 civilians killed, including 600 children, and 20,556 civilians injured of which 1,357 were children.  “This is unacceptable,” he stressed, emphasizing that attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure are prohibited under international law and must cease immediately.

Since March, the large-scale coordinated attacks on critical infrastructure destroyed or damaged more than two dozen energy facilities throughout the country, including the Dnipro Hydroelectric Power Plant.  These attacks have disrupted access to electricity for millions of Ukrainians in large cities and in rural areas, as well as access to water supply in some locations.

On 7 April, Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant — Europe’s largest and currently under the military occupation of the Russian Federation — was directly targeted in military action for the first time since November 2022.  Echoing the call of the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he said such inexcusable attacks must cease immediately to avoid a major nuclear accident, warning that “The consequences of a nuclear accident — whether intentional or not — could be catastrophic to us all.”

He also urged the Russian Federation to fully cooperate and grant access to OHCHR and independent monitors to areas of Ukraine it occupies.  Stressing the need for a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in Ukraine, he affirmed the UN’s readiness to support all efforts to that end.

“Ukraine is currently enduring some of the worst attacks since the start of this war,” underscored Edem Wosornu, Director, Operations and Advocacy, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.  “No region of Ukraine has been spared by this war,” she added, noting that, in Kharkiv, Kherson, Kyiv, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Dnipro, “wave after massive wave of attacks continue to kill and injure civilians and cause widespread damage and destruction to critical civilian infrastructure”.

In addition to the thousands killed and injured, 10 million people across the country have now lost their homes and have been forced to flee since the escalation of this war.  She detailed the disproportionate impact of the war on women and children, as well as its impact on essential services and aid operations.  Voicing deep concern by the lack of humanitarian access to the parts of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions occupied by the Russian Federation, she stressed that humanitarians must be granted access to those areas as a matter of priority.

More than 14.6 million people, which equal 40 per cent of Ukraine’s population — require some form of humanitarian assistance, she emphasized, calling on the humanitarian community’s continued commitment to support the people of Ukraine.  Urging the Council not to allow this war to grind on unchallenged and unresolved, she said:  “Together you must do everything within your power to ensure respect for the rules of war, pursue peace and bring the suffering of the Ukrainian people to an end.”

In the ensuing discussion, delegates echoed UN officials and urged a peaceful resolution to the conflict and respect for the rules of war, while others once again called squarely on the Russian Federation to stop its aggression and immediately and unconditionally withdraw from the internationally recognized territory of Ukraine.  They also called for the full, safe, rapid and unimpeded access for humanitarian personnel and relief to civilians in need.

“There are no winners in conflicts or wars,” said China’s representative.  “Dialogue and negotiation represent the only viable way out of the Ukraine crisis,” he added, calling once again upon the concerned parties to engage in direct dialogue and negotiation.

Algeria’s representative called for the intensification of international diplomatic efforts aimed at finding a solution to the crisis based on the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the legitimate security concerns of all parties.  Ecuador’s representative stressed adherence to the principles of international humanitarian law, particularly those demanding that all parties to the conflict act with distinction, proportionality and proportion — a point also made by the Mozambique’s representative.

The representative of the Russian Federation said that the only reason for convening today’s meeting is for the Kyiv regime’s Western sponsors to keep the topic of Ukraine afloat with the requisite optics.  During the special meeting on 15 April, Moscow will address shelling and drone attacks on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which resumed a few days ago, he added, voicing hope that a fair assessment of what is happening will also be given by IAEA leadership.

Noting that the Russian armies are advancing across all fronts, he said:  “This trend won’t be reversed by a new Western aid package.”  Very soon, the only topic at any international meeting on Ukraine will be the unconditional surrender of the Kyiv regime.

The representative of France drew attention to two French aid workers who were killed in Ukraine by a Russian Federation attack.  Deliberate strikes on civilians and civilian objects that are not participating in hostilities constitute war crimes and the perpetrators of these crimes should not go unpunished, he stressed.  Malta’s representative voiced full support for victims’ rights to justice and reparation, and noted the important work undertaken by the Register of Damage Caused by the Aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine as an important first step.

Sierra Leone’s representative was among speakers who voiced concern about “double-tap” tactics in war, whereby initial attacks are followed by a second strike, killing first responders who already arrived at the site to save civilian lives.  Slovenia’s representative pointed out that this worrisome pattern is also seen in Gaza.

Highlighting Ukraine’s resilience, the representative of the United States said Ukraine continues its efforts to feed the world’s most vulnerable, with Ukrainian grain delivered via the World Food Programme (WFP) to places such as Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, Sudan and Kenya, and destined for Gaza.

Guyana’s representative drew attention to the latest report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, which documents cases of torture, rape, and other sexual violence, and transfers of children.  She called for an immediate end to these illegal actions and urged the international community to scale up humanitarian support to Ukraine.

The United Kingdom’s representative said her county has committed over £350 million in humanitarian aid since February 2022.  Japan’s representative said her country has announced a $14.6 million contribution to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for their activities in Ukraine.

Several speakers, including Switzerland’s representative, echoed the call of Denise Brown, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, who said:  “The war in Ukraine should not be normalized.”

The representative of the Republic of Korea said Pyongyang’s supply of ammunitions and ballistic missiles to the Russian Federation constitutes a clear violation of multiple Security Council resolutions.  Moscow vetoed the resolution to renew the mandate of Panel of Experts monitoring UN sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to prevent the Panel from investigating reports of these arms dealings, he added.

Condemning Iran, Belarus and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for providing weapons and ammunition to Moscow were the representatives of the European Union, in its capacity as observer; the representative of Lithuania, who also spoke for Estonia and Latvia; and the representative of Denmark, who spoke also for Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.  Poland’s delegate called once again for a UN investigation on the weapons transfers and a report to the UN Security Council.

Pointing to Moscow’s “annihilation strategy”, Ukraine’s representative said the Russian Federation has fired nearly 1,000 missiles, about 2,800 “Shahed” drones and almost 7,000 guided aerial bombs on Ukrainian cities and villages since the beginning of 2024.  Only 3 per cent of Russian missiles, drones and guided bombs hit military targets, while 97 per cent hit civilian infrastructure.

Detailing Moscow’s ongoing attacks across Ukraine and its impact on civilians, he said:  “It is practically impossible to make the final update of my statement as Russian shelling continues even now, during the Council’s meeting.” He called for the international community’s solidarity with Ukraine, zero-tolerance towards Russian crimes, and a vision of peace, based on the Charter of the United Nations, and invited all responsible nations to participate in the first High-level Summit on Peace for Ukraine to be hosted by Switzerland in June.


* The 9599th Meeting was closed.

For information media. Not an official record.