One of the hallmarks of Russia’s war on Ukraine is Russia’s brutal attacks on Ukraine’s civilian population, as well as its targeting of civilian infrastructure. This, despite the fact that attacks against civilians contravene international law and rise to the level of war crimes.
On October 5, Russia conduced a missile attack on Ukraine’s Kharkiv region. One of the targets was the tiny town of Hroza, which was, at the time, the home to 330 people, and of no strategic value. A missile hit a café full of people, gathered there after a funeral. Fifty-two of the mourners were killed.
“As a result of Russia’s aggression, in just one morning, 15 percent of [Hroza’s] inhabitants have been laid to rest,” said Robert Wood, United States Alternate Representative to the United Nations.
“These were people gathered to mourn a death. I want everyone here to take a moment and let that appalling fact sink in. People gathered to grieve their loved ones must now be grieved themselves. This is one of the deadliest strikes by Russia against Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion last year.”
Nonetheless, in an act shocking in its brazenness, Russia, which was voted off the Human Rights Council in April 2022, for its actions in Ukraine, attempted to regain a seat on this body as one of two representatives of Eastern Europe.
Russia lost that vote. Nonetheless, the depth of its cynicism is breathtaking, said Ambassador Wood.
“After its suspension last April, Russia could have ceased its flagrant disregard for human rights. Instead, it has doubled down. Despite its attempts to deny and shift blame, let me be clear: It is Russia’s own actions that make it unfit to serve on the Human Rights Council.”
“What further evidence does the international community need? Every day, the massive death toll in Ukraine rises. Every day, new unspeakable horrors are discovered. Every day, children live through dire pain and suffering, including after being separated from their families. Every day, the humanitarian crisis grows. Every day, havoc reigns supreme as Russia’s missiles and drones leave wanton death and destruction in their wake,” he said.
“The United States again calls on Russia to end its savage attacks on Ukraine and withdraw its forces from Ukraine’s internationally recognized territory ,” said Ambassador Wood. “Russia alone has the power to end the war it so senselessly started.”