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ASG Jenča briefs the Security Council on Ukraine, urging all Member States to uphold the UN Charter, to prevent further escalation and spillover



New York, 8 November 2023


Mr. President,

It has been over 20 months since the Russian Federation launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, violating the UN Charter and international law.

As a result, thousands of civilians have been killed or injured and millions have been displaced. 

The massive destruction caused by the war has impacted essential services, including access to education, health services, shelter, food and water.

Nearly half of the population, an estimated 17.6 million people, are in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance.

Mr. President,

As the war continues without an end in sight, we remain particularly concerned about the continued, near-daily attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure throughout Ukraine.

According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), 9933 have been killed and 18,302 injured since February last year. The actual figures are likely considerably higher, as many reports from areas with ongoing hostilities are still pending corroboration.

Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo briefed the Council on 9 October following the horrific missile attack that killed 59 people in Hroza in eastern Ukraine.

Tragically, attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure have continued. Communities near the frontlines in the Kharkiv, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine remain under constant shelling.

The past few weeks have seen a pattern of escalation of attacks on critical infrastructure, including attacks on energy infrastructure, across the country. The impact of these attacks on the lives of civilians is of particular concern, especially at the onset of the winter period.

In the deadly wave of attacks on 18 October, 10 people were reportedly killed in strikes on Dnipropetrovsk, Kherson, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine.

On 1 November, Ukraine reportedly experienced the most extensive shelling of the year, with 118 settlements across 10 Ukrainian regions targeted within 24 hours. The overnight strikes reportedly killed two people, one in the region of Kharkiv and another in the Kherson region.

On 3 November, nine people were reportedly killed in a missile strike in the Ukrainian town of Chaplynka currently under Russian control in the Kherson region of Ukraine. Nine others were reportedly injured.

The same day, a massive Russian drone attack against critical civilian infrastructure reportedly injured civilians, including children, and damaged civilian residential and commercial buildings in different regions of Ukraine, including Lviv, Kharkiv, Kherson and Odesa.

On 5 November, one person was reportedly killed in an artillery strike in the Nikopol district of the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine.

On 6 November, Russian drone and missile attacks once again struck port and grain infrastructure in the historic city of Odesa, also reportedly causing widespread damage to the Odesa National Fine Arts Museum - one of city’s oldest, on the day it turned 124-years-old.

Yesterday, one person was reportedly killed in the Kupiansk district of the Kharkiv region. Meanwhile, civilian infrastructure was also reportedly damaged in Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk regions.

In a reminder that such attacks continue on both sides of the frontline, yesterday, in the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, six people were reportedly killed due to shelling, and many injured.

This morning, we saw reports that at least five people were killed in shelling of residential areas in eastern and southeastern Ukraine over the past day – three people in the Donetsk region, one in Kherson region and one in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine.

We continue to condemn in the clearest terms all attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, no matter where they take place and no matter who is responsible.

Such attacks are prohibited under international humanitarian law. They are unacceptable and must cease immediately.

Mr. President,

As the war is approaching its two-year mark, we continue to be greatly concerned about the risk of further escalation and the impact this could have on the people of Ukraine, and for regional and international security.

We urge all Member States to do their part to uphold the UN Charter, to prevent further escalation and spillover of this devastating war, and to lay the foundations for sustainable peace, in line with the Charter, international law and relevant resolutions of the General Assembly. We remain ready to support all meaningful efforts to this end.

Thank you.