I thank Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo for her contribution.
As we approach the two-year commemoration of Russia’s military aggression, the Ukrainian people continue to suffer its devastating consequences. We condemn this grave violation of international law and reiterate that Russia must withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory in order to put an end to this aggression. We are dismayed by the daily news of attacks killing and injuring civilians and damaging civilian infrastructure, particularly in frontline areas and in the Donetsk and Kherson regions. Just this morning, an infant was killed and his mother wounded in one of these strikes in the Kharkiv region.
We have also taken note of the reason given by Russia for convening the Council today, namely the reported attack on Lysychansk, a Russian-occupied town in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine.
Switzerland deplores the loss of every single life, which represents the most exorbitant cost of this war that has already caused so much devastation. We call on all parties to the conflict to strictly respect international humanitarian law and human rights. Their rules are binding and must be observed without exception, in particular the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in the conduct of hostilities.
Since the end of last year, Ukraine has seen an escalation in Russian air attacks, which deprive many persons of electricity, water or heating in the middle of winter. Our deepest gratitude goes to all those who continue to play a key role in the humanitarian response in Ukraine. We are appalled by the incessant violence they face. We reiterate the need to guarantee full, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access throughout Ukraine, including in territories under Russian military control.
As Switzerland regularly emphasizes, humanitarian personnel and their activities are protected from attacks by international humanitarian law. In this respect, we strongly condemn the attack that claimed the lives of two French aid workers and wounded other employees of the Swiss NGO HEKS/EPER near the frontline last week.
Let me conclude by stressing that civilians, including aid workers, must not be targeted, and that they must be protected. We emphasize the need for credible, transparent, independent and impartial investigations into all violations of international law, and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
I thank you.