Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
I begin by thanking Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo and Assistant Secretary-General Msuya for their valuable briefings today. I also welcome the participation of Ukraine in today’s meeting.
The United Arab Emirates expresses its deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those lost in Hroza and Kharkiv.
As we’ve heard from our briefers, the strike on Hroza, which occurred during a memorial service, was one of the deadliest attacks on civilians in Ukraine since February 2022. According to the United Nations, nearly 20% of the town’s population was killed within seconds.
Hroza and Kharkiv are the most recent examples of the unacceptable toll that this war has wrought on civilians. In both locations, children and the elderly were among those killed. In less than two years, there have been more than 27,000 recorded civilian casualties in Ukraine. These numbers, though shocking, do not reveal the true cost of the conflict, including the thousands of people and families whose lives have forever been altered.
International humanitarian law is unequivocal: civilians and civilian objects can never be the target of attacks, and the fundamental principles of proportionality and distinction must be respected.
The extensive damage and destruction of critical infrastructure throughout Ukraine is a further concern, particularly with winter approaching. The provision of electricity and heating during the coming months will be critical for the health and safety of civilians.
We recall the importance of protecting objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population and this Council’s call in resolution 2573 on all parties to armed conflict to refrain from “attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects that are indispensable to the survival of the civilian population”.
First responders and humanitarian organizations continue to provide vital services to those wounded and displaced by this conflict.
We stress once again the importance of facilitating their life saving work and underline that all relevant authorities must ensure that humanitarian actors and humanitarian facilities receive the protections afforded to them under international humanitarian law.
Only peace will bring a definitive end to the suffering, and so the pursuit of peace must be our ultimate goal.
Two weeks ago, world leaders made this call in the General Assembly hall. Every country has a part to play in turning those words into action.
The UAE remains resolute in its support of all serious efforts to achieve a just and sustainable peace that is based upon the principles of the UN Charter, respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.
Thank you, Mr. President.