Mr President,

Thank you for convening this meeting on such short notice. I would like to thank the Assistant Secretary-General, Mohamed Khaled Khiari, for his presentation and I would also like to welcome the participation of the representative of Ukraine, as well as of the representative of the European Union and of the representative of Poland.

Last night Russia launched in several regions of Ukraine one of its heaviest waves of missile and drone attacks since the start of the military aggression. We echo the warning of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs concerning the heavy impact of these attacks on civilians. We condemn these attacks against residential areas, which according to initial reports have caused the death of civilians, just as those launched over Christmas. The persistence of these attacks, whichaffecti schools, hospitals and energy infrastructure, only increases human suffering, particularly in the current harsh winter conditions. These attacks must stop immediately. 

We call once again for the respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law. International humanitarian law prohibits attacks against civilian objects, especially those indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.

The consequences of such attacks for the civilian population are particularly serious during winter. To try to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population, Switzerland supports the population in distress this winter, and has increased its contribution by CHF 11.8 million, or USD 14 million. In total, it has invested the equivalent of more than USD 30 million in winter relief, including support for the United Nations Humanitarian Fund for Ukraine.

In addition, we reiterate our appreciation for the tireless work of humanitarian actors in Ukraine. They must be protected. Since the beginning of 2023, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, nearly 560 humanitarian partners have provided life-saving assistance and protection services to more than 10 million people. We reiterate the need to facilitate and guarantee rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access throughout Ukraine, including to territories under Russian military control, such as the occupied city of Donetsk. Switzerland does not recognize the integration of the Ukrainian territories into the Russian Federation and condemns this serious violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

We once again call on Russia to immediately de-escalate the situation, to cease all combat operations and to withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory without delay.

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

I conclude by thanking the Ecuadorian Presidency for its excellent work during December, and express our sincere and warm appreciation for the cooperation and contributions of the five outgoing members, Albania, Brazil, Gabon, Ghana and the United Arab Emirates.

Thank you.