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Security Council hears rising casualties in Ukraine as Russian attacks escalate

The country’s two main specialist hospitals for children and women were severely damaged along with vital energy infrastructure, reportedly killing dozens of civilians, including children, and injuring more than 110.

Joyce Msuya, Acting UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, told ambassadors at Security Council on Tuesday, that the United Nations human rights office (OHCHR) are verifying the figures, while rescue workers, hospital staff and volunteers continue to clear the rubble in search of people trapped under the rubble.

My heart goes out to all those affected.”, she said, recalling that the hospital enjoys special protection under international humanitarian law.

Deliberately attacking a protected hospital is a war crime and the perpetrators must be held accountable.

‘Systematic attacks’

Msuya further noted that the recent incidents were part of a “deeply troubling pattern of systematic attacks” that have damaged healthcare and other civilian infrastructure across Ukraine.

“The attacks have increased since spring 2024,” she said.

As of June 30, prior to the latest wave of missile attacks, OHCHR had verified 11,284 civilian deaths and 22,594 injuries as a result of the conflict that began with the Russian invasion in February 2022.

Furthermore, the World Health Organization of the United Nations (WHO) verified 1,878 attacks affecting healthcare facilities, staff, transportation, supplies, and patients.

In addition to destroying schools, homes and vital civilian infrastructure, “The consequences for the humanitarian situation in Ukraine are of course very serious.”, Msuya emphasized.

Humanitarian approach

She stressed that relief operations had been affected by the attacks, with more than 14.6 million people – about 40% of Ukraine’s population – needing some form of humanitarian assistance.

She also expressed deep concern about access to humanitarian aid for some 1.5 million people in the Russian-occupied regions of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia.

“Like everyone else living near the frontline in Ukraine, they certainly need urgent access to health care and medicine, food and clean drinking water. Under international humanitarian law, equitable humanitarian relief must be provided to all civilians in need,” Msuya said.

Resources needed

Msuya stressed the need for more resources to sustain humanitarian operations.

“To maintain operations in an increasingly complex and dangerous environment, We are in dire need of sponsors to accelerate funding. for humanitarian response,” she said.

“This is all the more true as another winter approaches with no signs of hostilities easing or their impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Joyce Msuya, Acting Emergency Relief Coordinator, reports to the Security Council.

Joyce Msuya, Acting Emergency Relief Coordinator, reports to the Security Council.

Doctor describes ‘real hell’ under fire

Volodymyr Zhovnir, a cardiac surgeon and anesthesiologist at the children’s hospital, described the scene to ambassadors when their facility in Kyiv was attacked on Monday.

“At 10:42 a.m., we felt a strong explosion, The ground shook and the walls shook, both children and adults screamed and cried in fear and were injured in pain.…it was literally hell on earth,” he shared via video link.

Two people were reportedly killed when part of the Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital was hit by a bomb.

He noted the serious long-term impact on Ukrainian children who need medical care when caught up in the fighting, in addition to the long-term psychological impact.

Mr. Zhovnir stressed that attacking children’s hospitals where children are treated for cancer and other deadly diseases “It is not only a war crime, it is also beyond the limits of humanity.”.

Video of the Security Council meeting.

China: Don’t add fuel to the fire

Chinese Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative Geng Shuangnoting the impact of the conflict which he said had caused “a severe humanitarian crisis with enormous ripple effects”.

“Instead of stopping, the fighting continued to escalate…causing serious casualties,” he said.

“China is extremely concerned about this issue and we reiterate our call on all parties to the conflict to act rationally and exercise restraint, effectively abide by international humanitarian law and do their utmost to avoid civilian casualties,” he added.

He said the top priority was to de-escalate the situation by adhering to three principles: “no expansion of the battlefield, no escalation of hostilities, and no side fanning the flames.”

United States: Attack on hospital, one of many

US Permanent Representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield told his fellow ambassadors that they were gathered in the emergency session for one reason only: “We are here today because Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, the current rotating president of the Council, attacked a children’s hospital.”

“Even saying that sentence sends shivers down my spine,” she added.

Highlighting the impact on civilians, including children, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said this “brutal attack” was “hardly an isolated incident”, citing recent attacks on medical facilities.

“The reality is that across the country, hundreds of children have been killed, thousands injured and millions forced to flee their homes as Russia continues its campaign of terror in Ukraine,” she said.

“And there are children who were deported or forcibly relocated by Russia, robbing Ukrainian youth not only of their future but also of their identity,” she added.

Russia: The West is trying to protect the Kyiv regime

Russian Ambassador and Permanent Representative Vassily NebenziaThe President of the Council, July, spoke as head of state.

He said it was clear from statements by Western colleagues that “the subject of the alleged Russian airstrike on a children’s hospital” that prompted the emergency meeting “was not a happy one”.

“They probably saw a lot of analysis of what happened on photos and videos, from which it is clear that this is a missile of the Ukrainian air defense forces,” he said.

“Here you will see the magic of rhetoric displayed by Western members of the Security Council, who are trying in every way to protect the Kyiv regime,” he added.

Ambassador Nebenzia said that “the dishonesty of this tactic was immediately apparent to the naked eye as Ukrainians themselves noticed it” through a video of the attack that appeared on the Internet.

He said the Ukrainian authorities had sought to divert attention from the incident to “distract the public from the everyday lawless corruption of the Government”.

Ukraine: A Deliberate Target

Ambassador of Ukraine Sergiy Kyslytsya Russia has “deliberately targeted” the most vulnerable and defenseless group of society – “children suffering from cancer and other life-threatening diseases,” the agency said on Monday.

He noted that even in peacetime, these children face enormous challenges and suffering, and need a lot of support, treatment and care.

“Yesterday, Russia once again demonstrated its disgusting sympathy for children by attacking Ohmatdyt. [hospital] with their KH-101 cruise missile,” he added.

He cited footage that captured the “moment” the missile “dived towards” the hospital building, adding that fragments of the missile had been found amid the rubble. Ukrainian police and security services were conducting a full investigation, he told the ambassadors.

“According to the preliminary assessment of military experts, the designated objects belong to parts and components of the KH-101 strategic air-to-surface cruise missile, which is in service with the Russian Army and is used by Russian long-range aviation units,” he said.


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