17 million 600,000 people – almost 40% of the total population of Ukraine – are in need of humanitarian aid. More than 7,000 civilians fell victim to a full-scale Russian invasion. Nearly 8 million people have fled to neighboring countries, 5.3 million are internally displaced and live in refugee centres. People hide from the bombings in basements for days and weeks. Homes, schools, hospitals and other civilian infrastructure have been destroyed. Whole towns and villages are in ruins.
Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, presented these facts at a meeting of the UN Security Council. He visited Ukraine in December last year and saw with his own eyes many of the destruction and deprivation of Ukrainians.
“There is no end in sight to this violence. Just last week shelling from both sides of the front line resulted in the destruction of hospitals and the death and injury of dozens of people,” Griffiths said.
In 2022, 650 United Nations humanitarian organizations provided assistance in 24 regions of Ukraine to nearly 16 million people affected by the nearly year-long war, including nearly 1.5 million residents of areas under the control of the Russian army. Griffiths noted that next week in Geneva he will present a new aid package for 2023. The international community will need to allocate nearly $4 billion to help the 11 million people who have been affected by the total invasion of the Ukraine by Russia over the past year.
However, the Russian representative to the UN believes that the international community is “deliberately highlighting the suffering of the Ukrainian people” in order to divert public attention from the alleged bombing of a hospital in Lugansk by the Ukrainian army and the use of -personal mines “Lepestok”, which, according to Dmitry Polyansky, led to the death of civilians, residents and children.
The Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN said that already a month after the invasion in February last year, Moscow was ready for a truce – but neither the West nor Ukraine accepted the conditions proposed by the Kremlin.
US Permanent Representative to the UN Linda Thomas-Griffith said Russia separates Ukrainian children from their parents, gives them Russian passports without the consent of their relatives and sends them to Russia for adoption, thus completely depriving them of their homeland and their Ukrainian roots. Linda Thomas-Griffith also recalled that Russia regularly prevents the export of grain through the Black Sea and thus aggravates the world food crisis.
“We cannot allow Russia to use food and energy as a weapon of war, especially in winter,” she said. “It hurts many countries and kills Ukrainians. All these actions of Russia – the deportation of Ukrainian children, the obstruction of the passage of ships with food, the bombardment of peaceful civilians and infrastructure – do not resemble the actions of a country which is ready for the peace and who is a member of the UN Security Council.
Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the UN Serhiy Kyslytsya spoke not only about the victims of the Russian invasion, but also about the difficulties of everyday life of Ukrainian citizens. According to him, 77,000 Ukrainians across the country live in damaged houses. There is destruction on 30% of the territory of Ukraine and Russian mines are in the unoccupied territories.
“Russian terror using bombing and drones is the main danger for the Ukrainian civilian population,” said Serhiy Kislitsa. – On January 26, another Russian rocket attack kills 11 people and injures 11 others. With each threat of bombardment, an air alert is launched – and this interrupts the normal life of the civilian population throughout the country. In 2022, the total number of air alerts across Ukraine amounted to 14,870.”
According to the Ukrainian representative, the main work to restore and overcome the psychological trauma of the population related to the war can begin only after the complete liberation of Ukraine from Russian occupation.
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