Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
I thank Assistant Secretary-General Khiari for his briefing.
We are meeting for the second time in twenty-four hours following a series of air strikes in Ukraine and Russia.
Today’s drone attacks reportedly targeted several regions in Russia, killing 14 and injuring more than 100. Particularly alarming are reports that two children were killed and 15 were injured.
Reports indicate that civilian sites, including a school, were also hit. This adds to the 2,600 schools that have been damaged since this war began. Schools should be safe havens for children and not a place where they fear for their safety.
We reiterate that international humanitarian law must be upheld at all times. Civilians must be protected and constant care taken to spare them from military operations. Civilian objects must not be the target of attacks.
These airstrikes show that nearly two years into the war in Ukraine, the very real risks of its spreading remain a matter of grave concern. Following the end of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, there was an increase in military activity in and around the Black Sea. Civilian ships have been damaged and just this week, civilian crew members were injured after their ship reportedly hit a mine.
Unless this conflict is halted, the new year brings with it the prospects of further escalation. This will place communities in both Russia and Ukraine at greater risk and undermine their sense of safety. More civilians may be killed and wounded, and more families will be separated as the war continues unabated.
The conflict will also continue its destabilizing impact on European and global security while the damage it inflicts on our already fragile international order grows. This past day has underscored both the potential for matters to spin out of control and the urgency of the war’s resolution through diplomacy.
We once again urge the parties to pursue a negotiated settlement. The worst of this war is managed and contained until it is not. Those are risks that the parties, the region, and the international community cannot afford.
The UAE supports dialogue and diplomacy to achieve a just and sustainable peace in Ukraine. We support all serious efforts to end this war in a manner that preserves Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity, in line with the UN Charter.
Thank you, Mr. President.