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Ukraine: Country On 'Brink Of Humanitarian Catastrophe', UK Ambassador Warns

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Ukraine: Country On 'Brink Of Humanitarian Catastrophe', UK Ambassador Warns

The United Nations ambassador for the United Kingdom has warned Ukraine is on the brink of a 'humanitarian catastrophe' as it continues to fight back against Russia.

Ambassador Dame Barbara Woodward made the warning to an emergency meeting of the Security Council after Vladimir Putin launched an ongoing 'special military operation' in Ukraine on February 24.

More than 100 Ukrainian civilians have been killed, hundreds more have been injured and many continue to try and flee their homes and cities as missiles and shells continue to strike, causing damage to military targets and residential properties.

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Dame Barbara was among those at the UN to accuse the Kremlin of launching 'indiscriminate attacks against men, women and children' and violating international humanitarian law, The Independent reports, as she said: 'As a result of President Putin’s decision to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a country of 44 million people is now on the brink of humanitarian catastrophe.'

'Missiles have rained down on Kharkiv, with cluster munitions hitting residential areas and injuring residents. Disruption to supply chains has caused food shortages in Kramatorsk. The reckless bombing of an oil depot in Vasylkiv has unleashed toxic fumes in nearby communities.

'Violence in Kyiv has forced people to seek refuge underground, with many thousands, including the elderly and disabled, unable to evacuate,' she continued.

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The ambassador stressed to the council that 'hundreds of civilians' had lost their lives and seven million people had been displaced, with the figure 'rising exponentially' as a result of the invasion.

Vasily Nebenzya, the Russian UN permanent representative, echoed Putin's pre-invasion address as he claimed the Russian military did 'not have the goal of occupying Ukraine or harming the local population'. In his speech on February 24, Putin claimed that Russia's plans were 'not to occupy Ukraine' or 'impose ourselves on anyone by force'.

During the Security Council meeting, Ukraine’s representative, Sergiy Kyslytsya, told the council the capital city of Kyiv was 'sitting within Russian crosshairs right now', and accused Russian troops of attacking hospitals and ambulances in a bid to 'kill civilians' adding: 'There is no debate. These are war crimes.'

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In a public address on Monday, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed similar thoughts as he said Russian forces had 'brutally fired on Kharkiv from jet artillery', stressing: 'It was clearly a war crime. Kharkiv is a peaceful city, there are peaceful residential areas, no military facilities.'

Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Alamy)
Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Alamy)

The president continued: 'Dozens of eyewitness accounts prove that this is not a single false volley, but deliberate destruction of people: the Russians knew where they were shooting. There will definitely be an international tribunal for this crime — it’s a violation of all conventions. No one in the world will forgive you for killing peaceful Ukrainian people.'

Karim Khan, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, has assured he plans to open an investigation into the alleged crimes 'as rapidly as possible'.

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If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, Russia, Ukraine, United Nations, World News, UK News

Emily Brown
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