Ms DiCarlo referred to the latest wave of Russian missile and drone attacks in Ukraine which, she said, terrorized the citizens of several cities (Kiev, Odessa, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia).
As winter approaches, the attacks, she said, are “renewed.” fears that this winter will be disastrous for millions of Ukrainianswho are faced with the prospect of months of frigid weather without heating, electricity, water or other basic services”.
All affected regions
The UN peacebuilding chief then took stock of some of the reported consequences of the most recent strikes, from the death of a newborn baby in a maternity hospital in the Zaporizhzhia region, which was hit overnight, to dozens of civilian deaths in residential buildings. in Kiev and nearby cities.
According to Ukrainian officials and media reports, the country’s energy supply has been decimated; even before the last barrage, virtually no major thermal or hydroelectric power stations were left intact. All regions of Ukraine have implemented emergency shutdowns and several regions are reported to have been completely disconnected from electricity. Neighboring Moldova has also been affected.
Humanitarian efforts to support the Ukrainian people have stepped up, Ms DiCarlo said: More than 430,000 people have received some form of direct winter aid in recent weeks and nearly 400 generators have been distributed to power hospitals, schools and other critical facilities.
“The United Nations strongly condemns these attacks and demands that the Russian Federation immediately cease these actions,” said Ms. DiCarlo, who called for accountability for any violation of the laws of war and reiterated that attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure are prohibited under international humanitarian law.
‘The world cannot afford a nuclear catastrophe’
Ms. DiCarlo expressed her deep concern about the situation at the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, in Zaporizhzhia.
Despite reported shelling at the plant over the weekend, key equipment at the site remains intact, she said, and there are no immediate nuclear safety or security concerns.
But, she continued, ‘this is the result of sheer luck. We don’t know how long this happiness will last. The world cannot afford a nuclear catastrophe”.
The Under-Secretary-General informed the Council that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had reported a few hours before her speech that the plant relies on diesel generators for cooling and essential nuclear safety functions.
Ms. Di Carlo was able to point to one bright spot in an otherwise bleak assessment of the situation: a prisoner exchange.
Russia and Ukraine, she said, had reported the release of 35 Russian and 36 Ukrainian prisoners. She called on both sides to continue such releases and ensure they comply with their obligations under international law, especially the Third Geneva Convention, which deals with the treatment of prisoners of war.
All member states and international organizations, Ms DiCarlo said, should support efforts to prevent a man-made humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine this winter.
“The resulting shocks,” she concluded, “would demand a heavy price, not only for the Ukrainians, but for all of us.