Thank you, Madam President. And may I start by thanking, too, Martin Griffiths and Cathy Russell for their sobering briefings. I also want to add my thanks and appreciation for the work of your organisations, the courage of your staff, and the integrity of your reporting.
Martin, Cathy and Colleagues have already described in sobering detail the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. 1.7 million refugees – 1.7 million individual lives, destroyed. And the UN expects this to rise to 4 million in the coming weeks.
We’ve seen the devastation caused by Russian missiles and bombardment, including reports of cluster munitions in Ukrainian cities:
apartment blocks torn apart:
hospitals, schools, in ruins:
people left without electricity, food, water and shelter.
We can’t turn the clock back.
Russia’s invasion has been met with fierce resistance by the Ukrainian people. In response, President Putin is directing a campaign of violence and cruelty against civilians.
But let me be clear – we will hold Russia to account for its actions, and we will investigate thoroughly allegations of war crimes and violations of international law.
In response to this tragedy, the UK Prime Minister today announced a further $130 million of aid, which brings to a total the UK’s support for Ukraine, to $520 million. In addition, individual members of the British public have given over $130 million.
This is intended to help Ukrainians in need, and support neighbouring countries receive refugees.
But as I have said before, what the Ukrainian people really need is an end to this invasion.
So, we appeal to Russia to end their war before they bring even more tragedy to the Ukraine – and even more shame on their own nation.
The great Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote: “Man is given not only one life, but also one conscience.”
I know that you’ve spoken under instructions today, but I ask you to report faithfully back to Moscow what you have heard today – the urgency of this Council’s calls for peace.
I thank you.