Thank you, Mr. Chair,
Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine has been ongoing for four and a half months. After its initial attempt to seize Kyiv failed, the Russian forces have increasingly turned to the use of massive firepower. By means of relentless shelling and missile strikes, they are reducing to rubble everything in their path.
This massive and indiscriminatory firepower has largely been directed at civilian targets of little or no military value. Causing death and destruction, the Russian forces are laying large parts of Eastern Ukraine waste.
The most dreadful consequence is the maiming and killing. But those who survive pay a high price as well. If they choose to remain near the front line, they live precariously – in ruins, in constant danger. Those who choose to flee are forced to abandon everything. What will remain for them to return to? The Russian forces are physically obliterating their homes, their farms, their workplaces, and their schools.
Ironically – but no less tragically – it is the population of Donbas that is suffering most due to Russia’s irresponsible and unnecessary war. Adding insult to injury, Russia claims that it has launched the so-called “special military operation” for their sake.
Russia’s irresponsible and unnecessary war has wreaked unfathomable destruction in Ukraine, and particularly in Donbas. Rebuilding what has been destroyed will be a long and costly endeavour. In Ukraine’s National Recovery Plan, the cost of recovery of damaged assets is currently estimated at 165 billion USD. The international community will support Ukraine, as demonstrated at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano this week.
Yet the cost of Russia’s war is far greater still: it is of a global scale. It is pushing up commodity prices, exacerbating hunger and poverty, and reducing living standards worldwide.
Russia bears full responsibility for the enormous consequences of its illegal war. Once again, we call on Russia to immediately and unconditionally cease its military actions and withdraw all its troops and equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine, including the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula.