Ukraine: Security Council hears of increased casualties in attacks in Kharkiv

Summary of the Security Council in New York, United Nations Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Joyce Msuya called on the international community to work to end Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, now in its third year.

Msuya said the number of civilian deaths had continued to rise since her last meeting with the Council three weeks ago.

Kharkov under fire

While some areas were not affected by the conflict, the Kharkiv region was hit the hardest after Russia stepped up its offensive on May 10.

United Nations human rights monitor in Ukraine reported on that Friday At least 174 people were killed and 690 injured nationwide in Maymarking the highest number of civilian casualties in nearly a year.

More than half of them live in Kharkiv, located in the northeast of the country.

“Shopping malls, homes, educational facilities, stores, office buildings, parks and public transport have all been attacked in recent weeks,” she said.

An aid worker registers an evacuated woman for multi-purpose cash assistance at a transit center.

An aid worker registers an evacuated woman for multi-purpose cash assistance at a transit center.

Support for displaced people

At least 18,000 people in the new Kharkiv region were displaced, she added, citing estimates from the United Nations migration agency. IOM.

About 50 humanitarian organizations provided food, water, clothing, cash, psychological support and other assistance to more than 12,000 people at a transit center in Kharkiv city.

Meanwhile, civilians remaining in frontline areas and the border with Russia face dire conditions, as many lack access to food, medical care, electricity and gas. Elderly people are more affected because they often cannot or do not want to leave their homes.

“North of Kharkiv – where the fighting was heaviest – More than half of those killed or injured were over 60 years old,” she speaks.

United Nations Human Rights Office, OHCHRhas verified that at least 11,000 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and more than 21,000 injured since the conflict began on February 24, 2022, although the actual number is likely much higher.

Infrastructure attacks continue

Msuya noted that a year has passed since the Kakhova dam disaster, “one of the most serious incidents affecting civilian infrastructure since the start of the full-scale invasion”.

The big dam was destroyed on the day June 6, 2023leading to severe flooding that left many surrounding areas under water, destroyed homes, displaced thousands of families, and disrupted water supplies for millions of people.

It shows how widespread and long-lasting the humanitarian impact of a single incident affecting critical infrastructure can be.,” she said. “That is why we are deeply concerned that systematic attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure – a feature of this war since February 2022 – still going on.”

Since March 22, the United Nations and partners have identified six waves of attacks across 15 regions, affecting health care and other social, financial and transportation services. , while also disrupting electricity, gas and water supplies to millions of people.

Energy is affected, global food supply is threatened

Msuya said Ukraine’s energy system is now down to more than 60% of its pre-war generation capacity, according to preliminary estimates from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

“We note that attacks inside the Russian Federation in recent months, including in the Belgorod region, have also resulted in civilian casualties and damage to housing and other civil infrastructure”.

She also expressed deep concern about the impact of attacks on Ukraine’s transport and port infrastructure on global food security. Recent weeks have seen “worrying signs of renewed upward pressure on global grain pricesregarding damage to infrastructure in Ukraine, among other factors.”

She emphasized the need for safe movement across the Black Sea, protecting ports and related civil infrastructure so that food exports can reach global markets.

A Ukrainian teenager stands in the rubble of a destroyed school in Zhytomyr (file).

© UNICEF/Diego Ibarra Sánchez

A Ukrainian teenager stands in the rubble of a destroyed school in Zhytomyr (file).

“Huge” humanitarian needs

Turning to the humanitarian sector, Msuya said the need remained “huge” as more than 14.6 million Ukrainians, about 40% of the population, needed some form of assistance. More than half are women and girls.

The $3.1 billion funding appeal for 2024 has so far raised $856 million, allowing humanitarian organizations to provide assistance to more than 4 million people in the first quarter of the year.

She pointed to the “many challenges” humanitarians continue to face, primarily the lack of access to some 1.5 million civilians in the Russian-occupied areas of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

“And as the conflict continues to escalate and we look to begin preparing for another winter dominated by war, it is necessary to fully fund the humanitarian response plan to maintain operations”.

End suffering

Msuya said fighting continued to destroy lives, homes and futures in Ukraine more than three years since the war escalated, and the United Nations and partners remained committed to supporting affected civilians. .

However, she warns that “The longer the violence and destruction continue, the greater the suffering will beand the task of rebuilding broken lives and communities is even greater.”

Concluding her remarks, she welcomed the Ukraine Recovery Conference to be held in Berlin next week, calling it an important opportunity to advance the Government’s recovery priorities and leverage financing for important developments in affected areas.

“And we continue to call on the Security Council and all member states to do everything in their power to ensure respect for the rules of war, to pursue peace and to end the suffering of Ukrainian people.”


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