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Humanitarian Toll on Ukraine Mounts

Firefighters work to put out a fire a thermal power plant damaged by a Russian missile strike, in Zhytomyr, Ukraine, Oct. 18, 2022.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to a humanitarian disaster.

Humanitarian Toll on Ukraine Mounts
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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to a humanitarian disaster. There are more than 7.7 million people from Ukraine living as refugees in 40 countries in Europe, and over six million more displaced in Ukraine. That is nearly one-third of the population that cannot go home. Hundreds-of-thousands more have been forcibly deported to Russia in “filtration” operations. Nearly half of the population needs humanitarian assistance and winter is around the corner. To make matters worse, Russia’s forces are hitting civilian infrastructure and humanitarian infrastructure with renewed ferocity.

The UN estimates $4.3 billion will be needed to provide Ukrainians with humanitarian aid. Since February, the United States has provided more than $1.5 billion in humanitarian assistance to support food and cash assistance, water, sanitation, health care, protection, and other vital relief. “We urge countries to help the UN meet these goals as we continue to stand firmly behind the Ukrainian people,” said Jeffrey DeLaurentis, U.S. Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs at the United Nations.

From the beginning of its full-scale invasion in February, Russia has shown contempt for the Security Council. This continues with evidence that – since August and in violation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 – Iran has transferred unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, to Russia. These Iranian-origin UAVs have been subsequently used in multiple attacks against Ukrainian civilians and civilian infrastructure. In addition to the easily identifiable remnants of these UAVs recovered in Ukraine, there is significant publicly available documentation, including photographs and video, of these UAVs being used against Ukraine.

Ambassador DeLaurentis urged the UN to “investigate any violations of UN Security Council resolutions.”

An important spillover effect of the war includes greater global food insecurity. “We must continue to champion the efforts of, and work to renew, the Black Sea Grain Initiative,” urged Ambassador DeLaurentis. Under this initiative, more than 400 ships with 9.8 million metric tons of grain and other food have left Ukraine’s ports. As the UN has pointed out, the initiative has helped calm markets and limit food price inflation.

Ambassador DeLaurentis urged all members of the Security Council to speak out against Russia’s war on Ukraine: “If women matter, urge Russia to silence its guns. If children matter, ask Russia to withdraw its forces. If the UN Charter matters, call on Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political independence. Vague calls for diplomacy only enable Russia as it commits further abuses.”