Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to thank Under-Secretary-General Martin Griffiths for his presentation.

Switzerland is gravely alarmed by the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam. The developments of the last few hours further increase the burden of a population suffering from Russia's military aggression against Ukraine. The extent of the damage is still difficult to determine, but it is already certain that we are facing - in the words of the Secretary-General - a humanitarian, economic and ecological catastrophe. It deserves our full attention.

The images reaching us from the city of Kherson and other towns and villages along the Dnipro river are frightening. At this very moment, large-scale evacuations are underway on both sides of the front line. Thousands of people are likely to be affected. In addition to the devastating short-term consequences in southern Ukraine, we must be prepared for serious long-term consequences. Switzerland is concerned about the risks that massive flooding could pose to the environment, as well as to energy and food security, including water supplies. This event is a sad example of the links between water and the protection of civilians, which this Council addressed in the past. Finally, the cooling system at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant could be affected. We are continuing to closely follow the International Atomic Energy Agency's assessments on this subject.

In this crisis situation, the priority must be to protect the civilian population. We express our full support for the immediate reaction of the United Nations and humanitarian partners who, in coordination with the Ukrainian government, are doing their utmost to provide essential aid, including to guarantee the supply of drinking water. Switzerland calls for rapid and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid to be guaranteed throughout Ukraine.

Given the urgency and gravity of the situation, we reiterate that attacks on civilian infrastructure are unacceptable. They must stop immediately. Whether the Nova Kakhovka dam is considered a civilian facility or a military objective, it is protected under the rules of international humanitarian law. Violations of these rules cannot be tolerated; those responsible must be identified and held to account.

We also reiterate our call for full respect for international law, including the UN Charter. And we call on Russia to immediately de-escalate the situation and withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory without delay.

Failure to respect international law in general, and international humanitarian law and human rights in particular, undermines the foundation of international security, the security of us all. We must never forget this.

I thank you.

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