Miroslav Jenča, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, voiced concern over the “continued, near-daily attacks” on civilians and civilian infrastructure throughout Ukraine.
“Thousands of civilians have been killed or injured and millions have been displaced,” he told ambassadors, adding that nearly half of the population – an estimated 17.6 million people – need life-saving assistance.
Rising death toll
According to the UN human rights office (OHCHR), 9,933 people have been killed and a further 18,302 injured since Russia’s full-scale invasion of February last year.
“The actual figures are likely considerably higher, as many reports from areas with ongoing hostilities are still pending corroboration,” Mr. Jenča added.
The senior UN official further noted that the war has impacted essential services, including access to education, healthcare, shelter, food, and clean water.
Escalation of attacks
Mr. Jenča outlined recent attacks on both sides of the frontlines, in which scores of civilians were killed and many others injured across Ukraine.
“The past few weeks have seen a pattern of escalation of attacks on critical infrastructure, including attacks on energy infrastructure, across the country. The impact of these attacks on the lives of civilians is of particular concern, especially at the onset of the winter period,” he said.
He strongly condemned the continuing assaults, no matter where they take place and no matter who is responsible.
“Such attacks are prohibited under international humanitarian law. They are unacceptable and must cease immediately,” he stressed.
Two-year mark approaching
Mr. Jenča also emphasized that with the two-year mark of the conflict approaching, concerns remain over the risk of further escalation and the war’s impact of on the people of Ukraine, as well as regional and international security.
In conclusion, he urged all Member States “to do their part” to uphold the UN Charter, to prevent further escalation and spillover of the war, and to lay the foundations for sustainable peace, in line with the Charter, international law and General Assembly resolutions.
“We remain ready to support all meaningful efforts to this end,” he said.