Last weekend, in the space of 24 hours, Russian forces launched 71 attacks upon Ukrainian residential districts: damaging homes, shops and medical infrastructure. This included overnight shelling on the city of Kherson. Whilst civilians slept, at least one person was killed and six were injured including two children and their mother. All these victims were attacked in their homes. The contempt Russia is showing for human life is inexcusable.
The UK is appalled by Russia’s barbaric missile attacks across Ukraine. Intentionally targeting civilians is a war crime. Those responsible will be held to account. Our commitment to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people is unwavering. If Russia is serious about a diplomatic end to its illegal war, then Russia must observe its obligations under international law; immediately cease attacks on civilians and critical national infrastructure; and withdraw its forces from the entirety of Ukraine.
As winter approaches, the UK and our international partners sadly anticipate Russia ramping up its attempts to break Ukrainian resolve. Last October, Russia began its systematic targeting of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. 400 energy facilities were damaged, affecting around 4.5 million people. Combined with the targeting of hydroelectric dams and reports of damage to vital water supply infrastructure, millions of civilians were left for prolonged periods without electricity and water. Mothers gave birth in hospital basements and makeshift facilities, whilst shelling and drone attacks continued around them; oncology centres, which provided life-saving care for cancer patients, were destroyed; and hundreds of health-care professionals were killed or injured.
Mr Chair, history will remember, in the cold hard winter months, despite being plunged into darkness and deprived of fundamental necessities, the brave and resilient Ukrainians who continued to fight against Russian aggression. And continued to fight for the core principles of the Helsinki Final Act: sovereignty, territorial integrity, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. And so, Ukraine will not fight alone.
To support Ukraine this winter, the UK is providing generators to ensure vital facilities, such as hospitals, have power. The UK has also contributed to assisting Ukraine’s efforts to repair infrastructure and reconnect households and key facilities to electricity and gas supply.
To help the Ukrainian people remain resilient against Russian aggression the UK has funded UN agencies to provide cash assistance, insulation, and support for energy and heating. The UK has also funded the Red Cross to assist with winterisation efforts across Ukraine, alongside programmes to strengthen the capacity of national actors.
Mr Chair, the UK and its international partners will not allow Russia to break the foundations and values of the European security architecture. We will support Ukraine as it defends the rights of all sovereign democratic States to exist without fear of aggression.
Over the past months, with the support of its international friends, Ukraine has only become stronger. On 13 June the UK announced a £92m Air Defence Package. This is one of several packages that aims to protect Ukrainian critical national infrastructure and defend against air strikes. Alongside this, Ukraine’s energy production has expanded with seven functioning nuclear power reactors and two more incoming. Domestic production of natural gas has also increased. And the Ukrainian grid is growing more and more resilient.
Mr Chair, we remain in awe of the courage, strength, and ingenuity of the Ukrainian people in the face of Russia’s unprovoked aggression. The UK and the international community will not let Ukraine face these challenges alone. We will not let Ukrainians face this winter alone. We will stand by Ukraine until the peace is won.