We thank the briefers for their sobering accounts of the situation on the ground.
Russia’s war against Ukraine represents a blatant violation of international law, and the very principles of the UN Charter.
Russia’s war is causing the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since the Second World War. The damage and destruction to civilian infrastructure, including food systems, is devastating, as we have heard from the briefers today.
The attacks on civilians are simply unacceptable. A quarter of the Ukrainian population has now been displaced.
Once again, we reiterate that international humanitarian law must be respected,
and the civilian population in Ukraine must be protected.
A humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine is urgently needed, and we welcome the Secretary-General’s initiative to request USG Griffiths to work directly with the parties on a possible agreement.
We welcome also the renewed dialogue today between the parties and hope this will establish the trust needed for an early agreement on the cessation of hostilities.
Let me highlight just three areas of concern:
First, the war is increasing the risk of sexual and gender-based violence- including sexual violence being used as a tactic of warfare. This is of great concern. Prevention, protection, and response must be scaled up.
Second, immediate action must be taken to shield children in Ukraine from the harms of conflict. Including suffering from a lack of both urgent and ongoing medical care. Many children have fled, and are unaccompanied. They are extremely vulnerable and must be protected.
And third, the massive displacement and refugee flows have led to reports of a significant increase in human trafficking. This needs to be urgently addressed by all, including the UN and receiving States.
Ukrainians are responding with great courage and commitment. And we recognise the leading role women are playing in the response.
The work undertaken by international humanitarian organisations, and their local partners and responders, is crucial. Systematic engagement between them- together with affected people- needs to be strengthened.
As the needs grow, their efforts and ability to stay and deliver must be accelerated. Humanitarian organisations must be allowed safe, rapid, and unimpeded, humanitarian access to people in need.
We commend also the hospitality and solidarity extended by Ukraine’s neighbours. And we encourage countries to keep their borders open to all those seeking protection, without discrimination.
The Secretary-General, UNDP, and other development organisations are sounding the alarm about regional- and even global- consequences of the war.
This is both a humanitarian and development crisis. It is both a Ukrainian and a global crisis.
Ukraine itself has been set back decades in its economic development. More than 60% of its citizens could fall below the poverty line within the next 12 months. The conflict will have a serious negative effect on the agricultural sector - likely leading to a global rise in food insecurity, and increased prices of fuel and fertilizer. All contributing to social unrest and instability across the world.
The ripple effects of the Russian aggression will be particularly felt by those living in conflict and crisis-affected countries, like Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and South Sudan.
We therefore welcome the Secretary-General’s initiative to establish a “Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance”.
Russia’s aggression has long-term consequences for Ukraine. It exacerbates other humanitarian crises. And it undermines global economic development, peace, and security.
Russia must stop its unjust war. This is the only way to end the humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine and beyond.