At a recent UN Security Council briefing on threats to international peace and security, cynically called by Russia, UN Under Secretary General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo said that since February 2022, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has reported 30,041 civilian casualties in Ukraine, with 10,382 killed, including 579 children. She noted that the number of civilian casualties significantly increased in December and January.
Robert Wood, U.S. Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs, said the United States “laments all civilian casualties and expresses its sincerest condolences to the families of any civilians killed.”
“Though there is much we don’t know, we do know this: the Kremlin bears full responsibility for the unconscionable death and destruction brought about as a consequence of Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine, in violation of the UN Charter. Russian forces invaded a peaceful neighbor and continue their relentless attacks against Ukraine,” he said.
Ambassador Wood noted that investigators associated with the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine and the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine continue their “heroic efforts” to document and investigate all alleged violations and abuses of human rights near the frontlines and in formerly occupied areas.
“This reporting has painted a brutal, blood-soaked image of civilian suffering and unspeakable atrocities committed by Russian forces in Bucha and many other places,” he said.
“We must remember,” said Ambassador Wood, “that Russia alone started this war, and its aggression against Ukraine is a blatant violation of the UN Charter and of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”
“Even as we sit here, Russia continues to flout international law as it doubles down on its violations of the UN arms embargo on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” he said. “Russia and the DPRK must be held accountable for their actions which undermine longstanding obligations under UN Security council resolutions.”
“Russia, said Ambassador Wood, “is the only aggressor in this war and the only one that could end this war today.”
The United States, he declared, “renews our calls for Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders, cease its unlawful procurement of arms and materiel from the DPRK, and meet its responsibilities as a member of this Council.”