Mr President,

I thank Assistant Secretary-General Mohamed Khaled Khiari for his presentation, and also welcome the participation of the Ukrainian representative.

Russia's military aggression has been going on for almost two years now. Today's attacks on Belgorod are yet another tragic consequence of this war initiated by Russia. Switzerland takes note of reports of destruction in residential areas and of civilian casualties.

We call on all parties to the conflict to strictly respect international humanitarian law. This law applies to all armed conflicts, and we recall it regularly. International humanitarian law is clear: civilians are not a target.

As we heard in this chamber yesterday, Russia has launched in recent days one of its heaviest waves of missile and drone attacks in several regions of Ukraine since the start of the military aggression, causing numerous fatalities. According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, these attacks have caused considerable damage to a wide range of civilian infrastructure, including apartment buildings, a maternity hospital, schools, kindergartens, parks, a metro station, a shopping mall and energy infrastructure. In addition to the direct casualties, these attacks exacerbate the suffering of the population, particularly in the harsh winter conditions. And yet Russia continues its strikes against Ukraine, as tonight in the Kharkiv region and other parts of eastern and southern Ukraine. These attacks must stop.

To avoid further suffering among the civilian population, de-escalation is essential. For this reason, we once again call on Russia to cease all combat operations and withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory without delay.

Switzerland will remain committed to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine, in accordance with the UN Charter, international law and General Assembly resolutions.

I thank you.

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