Delivered By: Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
I thank President Zelenskyy for addressing us today and also thank Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo for her briefing.
Since our last meeting on Ukraine, temperatures have indeed started to drop as the first snow falls across the country. We’ve repeatedly shared our grave concern that the onset of winter, amid damaged critical infrastructure, portends further humanitarian suffering with failures in power and heating systems. Today, with reported missile strikes across Ukraine, there has been an increase in rolling blackouts, cuts to water supplies, and significant power outages to the extent that they have affected neighboring Moldova.
Additionally, we are deeply concerned by reports that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was subject to renewed shelling over the weekend. We echo IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi’s urgent calls for a concerted effort by the parties to avert a nuclear disaster. It is completely unacceptable that the people of the region, and indeed the world, should live under this threat, or survive catastrophe because of sheer luck. The shelling should stop.
Today’s reports tell a story of damage and destruction that extend beyond Ukraine’s power plants and electricity grid – distressingly, residential buildings and even a maternity ward were reportedly hit. We take special note of the need to ensure the safety of mothers and their newborn babies. We remind the parties of their obligations under international law, set out clearly in the Geneva Conventions, to protect civilians and civilian objects. We also must urge restraint as these particular developments risk an escalation with transnational consequences.
The current situation is yet another reminder of the urgent need for a cessation of hostilities and a peaceful resolution of this war, or, a ‘peace formula’, agreed between both sides. We must seize rare positive developments like last week’s extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative to create the necessary momentum towards broader talks towards the cessation of hostilities. We strongly believe the Council must rise to this occasion by showing unity around the path forward to resolving this conflict.
For its part, the UAE is ready and willing to deploy its good offices to support any effort that mitigates the war’s impact on civilians in and outside Ukraine, and to help both Ukraine and Russia arrive at a lasting peace.