Thank you, Madam Chair. Over 600 days into Russia’s brutal war of aggression, Russian forces have shown nothing but contempt towards the civilian population of Ukraine. The Russian delegate has sat in this Forum and condemned others for violence against civilians, acts of terrorism and indiscriminate attacks. When will the Russian government apply the same principles to its own conduct?
As Russia increases its attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, so the devastation increases for innocent people in Ukraine. This past weekend, six civilians were killed and 17 injured, when a Russian missile reduced a postal distribution centre to rubble in Kharkiv oblast. The victims, aged between 19 and 42, had no time to flee from this reprehensible attack. Of the 17 injured, seven are reported to be in a critical condition. Madam Chair, Russia’s continued disregard for human life cannot, and will not, be overlooked. The UK and our international partners will help to ensure that those responsible are held to account.
Last week, the UK spoke of Russia’s isolation in continuing to justify its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Since then, Russia’s desperation has become even more apparent. Russia has sourced arms from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to be used against Ukraine. This violates UN Security Council Resolutions, including Resolutions for which Russia itself voted in favour. Nothing seems off limits to Russia, whose soldiers are fighting a prolonged, yet ultimately, losing battle.
According to reports, Russia has suffered over 200,000 casualties since February 2022. In Avdiivka, entrenched Ukrainian forces have so far held back the Russian advance, with the latter sustaining heavy equipment and personnel losses. Despite these heavy losses, Russia continues to send more and more personnel to the Avdiivka region. This is further evidence of how little the Russian government values the lives of its own people.
While Russia is sending its poorly equipped soldiers to their deaths, Ukraine is doing all it can to protect its citizens from Russian aggression. And that is why the UK will continue to support Ukraine with military and non-military aid as long as it is necessary.
Madam Chair, the UK will continue to stand in solidarity with Ukraine, as the brave Ukrainian people defend their homeland and fight for the simple right to a free, peaceful and prosperous future. Ukraine will win. Thank you.