Mr President, 

I would like to thank Director Rajasingham for his presentation and especially for the work that OCHA is doing in Ukraine and elsewhere in the world. 

While our attention is now drawn to another terrible conflict, the military aggression against Ukraine continues unabated. The loss of life, injury and destruction affect millions of people.

Half of Ukraine's remaining population needs help. It cannot be forgotten.

At the conference on the key principles of peace for Ukraine last week, Switzerland reaffirmed its commitment to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace. We will continue our efforts to contribute to the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine.

However, to protect civilians, immediate action is needed. As the UN Resident Coordinator in

Ukraine says: "The only way to change the situation is to stop the war". We repeat our call on Russia to cease all combat operations and withdraw its troops. 

In its most recent report, the International Independent Investigation Commission documented attacks on residential buildings, shops, a railway station and a civilian warehouse, among others. In some cases, it concludes that the Russian armed forces carried out indiscriminate attacks and did not take the necessary precautions to ensure that the target was not civilian. 

We underline the Commission's recommendation that calls upon Russia to cease all acts of violence against civilians. We also underline the call to take all possible precautions to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including energy infrastructure, much of which was damaged in last winter's massive attacks.  

The rules of international humanitarian law, including the fundamental principles relating to the conduct of hostilities - distinction, proportionality and precaution - are mandatory. International humanitarian law applies to all armed conflicts, regardless of their location. 

Mr President, 

As winter approaches, the serious humanitarian crisis in Ukraine takes on a new dimension. 

We are particularly concerned about the impact of the freezing temperatures on vulnerable groups, including the elderly and the sick. 

Thanks to the tireless work of local, national and international humanitarian organisations, more than 9 million people affected by the war have received aid since the beginning of the year. Rapid and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid must be guaranteed so that these organisations can support all those in need, including in the regions under Russian occupation.

Switzerland will continue to support humanitarian actors by making financial contributions, sending relief supplies and seconding humanitarian experts to the region.

Given the growing insecurity, I recall that international humanitarian law provides specific protection for humanitarian activities. It is therefore appalling that in September alone, six humanitarian workers were killed in Ukraine. 

I conclude by recalling the serious regional and international implications of this military aggression, particularly as regards global food security. The safety of shipping across the Black Sea remains crucial. Switzerland welcomes the UN's ongoing efforts to facilitate food and fertiliser exports from Ukraine and Russia to world markets. Rapid and substantial results are essential to reduce the pressure on the most vulnerable around the world.

I thank you.