Ukraine casualties rise amid increased Russian attacks, Security Council hears — Global Issues


Two of the country’s main children’s and women’s hospitals were badly damaged, as were key energy infrastructure. Dozens of civilians, including children, were reportedly killed and more than 110 people were injured.

Joyce Msuya, acting UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, told ambassadors in the Security Council on Tuesday, that the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) checked the numbers as rescue workers, hospital staff and volunteers continued to clear rubble in search of those trapped beneath the rubble.

My condolences go out to all those affected“, she said, reiterating that hospitals enjoy special protection under international humanitarian law.

Deliberately attacking a protected hospital is a war crime and the perpetrators must be held accountable.

‘Systematic attacks’

Ms Msuya further noted that the recent incidents were part of a “deeply disturbing pattern of systematic attacks” that damaged health care and other civilian infrastructure across Ukraine.

“The attacks have intensified since spring 2024,” she said.

As of June 30, before the latest wave of rocket attacks, the OHCHR had counted 11,284 civilian deaths and 22,594 wounded as a result of the conflict that began with the Russian invasion in February 2022.

In addition, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) has verified 1,878 attacks that impacted healthcare facilities, staff, transportation, supplies, and patients.

In addition to the destruction of schools, homes and vital civilian infrastructure, “the consequences for the humanitarian situation in Ukraine are of course seriousMs Msuya stressed.

Humanitarian access

She stressed that relief efforts have been affected by the attacks, with more than 14.6 million people – about 40 percent of Ukraine’s population – in need of some form of humanitarian assistance.

She also expressed deep concern about humanitarian access to some 1.5 million people in the Russian-occupied regions of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhia.

“Like all others living close to the frontline in Ukraine, they undoubtedly urgently need access to healthcare and medicine, food and clean drinking water. In line with international humanitarian law, it is imperative that impartial humanitarian assistance is provided to all civilians in need,” said Ms. Msuya.

Resources required

Ms Msuya stressed the need for more resources to sustain humanitarian operations.

“To continue operations in an increasingly complex and dangerous environment, we urgently need donors to accelerate funding for the humanitarian response,” she said.

“This is especially true now that another winter is approaching, while there is no sign of an abating of hostilities or their impact on civilians and civilian infrastructure.”

Joyce Msuya, Acting Emergency Relief Coordinator, briefs the Security Council.

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Joyce Msuya, Acting Emergency Relief Coordinator, briefs the Security Council.

Doctor describes ‘real hell’ under fire

Volodymyr Zhovnir, a cardiac surgeon and anesthetist at the children’s hospital, described the situation to ambassadors when their facility in Kiev was hit on Monday.

“At 10:42 we felt a powerful explosion, the ground shook and the walls trembled, both children and adults screamed and cried in fear and were wounded in pain“…it was absolute hell,” he said via video link.

According to news reports, two people were killed when part of the Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital was hit.

He pointed out the serious long-term consequences for Ukrainian children in need of medical care and caught up in the fighting, in addition to the long-term psychological consequences.

Mr. Zhovnir stressed that closing children’s hospitals, where they are treated for cancer and other deadly diseases, “is not only a war crime, it goes far beyond the limits of humanity“.

Video feed of the Security Council meeting.

China: Don’t fan the flames

Chinese Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative Geng Shuangnoted that the conflict had, in his view, created a “serious humanitarian crisis with enormous spillover effects”.

“Instead of stopping, the fighting has actually intensified, resulting in serious casualties,” he said.

“China is deeply concerned about this and we reiterate our call on the parties to the conflict to be rational and restrained, to effectively abide by international humanitarian law and to do their utmost to avoid civilian casualties,” he added.

The priority should be to de-escalate the situation, he said, by adhering to three principles: “no expansion of the battlefield, no escalation of the fighting and no fanning of the flames by any side.”

United States: Attack on hospital, one of many

U.S. Permanent Representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield told her fellow ambassadors that they had gathered in emergency session for one reason only: “We are here today because Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council and the current rotating president of the Council, attacked a children’s hospital.”

“Just saying that sentence sends shivers down my spine,” she added.

Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield stressed the impact on civilians, including children, saying the “brutal attack” was “hardly an isolated incident,” citing recent attacks on medical facilities.

“The fact is that across the country, hundreds of children have been killed, thousands injured and millions displaced from their homes as Russia continues its campaign of terror in Ukraine,” she said.

“And then there are the children deported or forcibly transferred by Russia, robbing Ukrainian youth not only of their future but also of their identity,” she added.

Russia: West tries to protect regime in Kiev

Russian Ambassador and Permanent Representative Vassily NebenziaPresident of the Council for July, speaking in his national capacity.

He said it was clear from the statements of Western colleagues that “the subject of the alleged Russian attack on the children’s hospital” that had led to the emergency meeting “is not a very satisfactory subject.”

“They probably saw a lot of analysis of the events in photos and videos, which clearly show that this was a missile from the Ukrainian air defense,” he said.

“Here you see the magic of verbal gymnastics demonstrated by Western members of the Security Council, who are trying by all means to protect the regime in Kiev,” he added.

Ambassador Nebenzia said the “dishonesty of this tactic is obvious to the naked eye, as the Ukrainians themselves immediately noticed” through the video of the attack that appeared on the Internet.

He said Ukrainian authorities had tried to divert attention from the incident to “distract the masses from the daily lawlessness of government corruption”.

Ukraine: A Deliberate Target

Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya said on Monday that Russia had “deliberately targeted the most vulnerable and defenseless group of society” – “children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.”

He noted that even in peacetime, these children face enormous challenges and suffering and require a lot of support, treatment and care.

“Yesterday, Russia once again showed its disgusting form of empathy for children by attacking Ohmatdyt (hospital) with their KH-101 cruise missile,” he added.

He cited video footage that captured “the moment” when the rocket “dived toward the hospital building,” adding that remnants of the rocket had been found among the wreckage. Ukrainian police and security services were conducting a full investigation, he told ambassadors.

“According to the preliminary assessment of military specialists, the specified objects are among the parts and components of the strategic air-to-surface cruise missile KH-101, which is in service with the Russian army and used by Russian long-range aviation units,” he said.

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