Mr President,

I thank Assistant Secretary-General Mohamed Khaled Khiari and Director Lisa Doughten of OCHA for their presentations.

As we have entered the third year of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, today's meeting is a reminder of its devastating impact on the civilian population. Switzerland continues to deplore the human cost and immense suffering caused by this war. Every day that hostilities continue, the number of civilian casualties rises, as the events of the past week have shown.

We are disturbed by the intensification of Russian missile and drone attacks in recent days and weeks. At the end of last week, several regions in eastern and southern Ukraine, including Donetsk, Mykolayv and Kharkiv, came under attack, causing further casualties and extensive damage to residential buildings and other civilian infrastructure, including a hospital and schools.

The attacks in Odesa last Saturday and two days ago, during the visit of President Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Mitsotakis, were tragic. As we have heard, 12 people were killed in the first attack, including several children. These are just the latest examples of attacks on the city, which has suffered enormous damage after months of Russian strikes, destroying and damaging several important cultural sites as well as port infrastructure and grain silos. This reminds us of the extent to which this war, through its impact on food security, is having deleterious consequences throughout the world.

Mr President,

Switzerland condemns the new series of attacks which have claimed numerous civilian victims. These attacks must cease immediately. We reiterate our call for respect for international humanitarian law and human rights. International humanitarian law prohibits attacks on civilians, including children, who must be protected at all times.

We reiterate the importance of combating impunity for the most serious crimes, and support national, regional and international accountability efforts, including those of the International Criminal Court, which recently issued additional arrest warrants for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

I would also like to express my gratitude for the work of the humanitarian actors who reacted swiftly to the attacks, including in the city of Odesa. Their work, whether in first aid, psychological support or the distribution of emergency aid, remains indispensable and must be protected.

Finally, Switzerland remains committed to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter. In the interests of protecting the civilian population, such a peace must remain our primary objective.

I thank you.


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