Thank you, Mr Chair. Just over 4 months since the start of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, we are deeply saddened to meet once again in the Special Permanent Council to mark yet further tragic developments in President Putin’s brutal war of choice in Ukraine.
Russia’s intense barrage of missile attacks continues to tear through towns across Ukraine. The cost for the civilians targeted has been devastating: yet more destruction, yet more injuries, yet more deaths.
The last few weeks have sadly been no exception, with increasing Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure. On the morning of 1 July, at least 21 people are reported to have died – including children – in air-launched missile strikes on 2 residential buildings and a recreation centre in the seaside resort of Serhiivka in Ukraine’s Odesa region. On 27 June, the missile strike on the Kremenchuk shopping centre is reported to have killed as many as 25 people with more than 50 wounded. On 25 June, Kyiv was shelled overnight by Russia, targeting a residential district. We mourn with the families of those that have lost their lives in this barbaric war.
The perpetrators of these appalling acts must be held to account. The UK continues to strongly condemn the deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian objects, as well as the indiscriminate or disproportionate use of any weapon. The deliberate targeting of civilians is not only abhorrent, but also a blatant violation of international law. The atrocities we see being committed day after day will not be forgotten. Those giving and those following illegal orders will be held to account.
Once again, we call on Russia to abide by the principles of proportionality and distinction; and to immediately cease the indiscriminate use of wide area impact weapons in civilian areas. And ultimately, we call once again on Russia to stop this war and withdraw its troops from the entire territory of Ukraine.
Mr Chair, as we have already heard, yesterday the international community gathered in Lugano, Switzerland, at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in solidarity with Ukraine. My Foreign Secretary stated that Ukraine’s recovery from Russia’s war of aggression will be a symbol of the power of democracy over autocracy. It will show President Putin that his attempts to destroy Ukraine have only produced a stronger, more prosperous and more united nation. We commend the extraordinary bravery and resolve of the men and women of Ukraine in the face of this brutal assault on its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The UK is resolute in its support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity; we will remain at Ukraine’s side as it emerges as a strong and thriving democracy – however long it takes.