Russia’s appetite for war is taking food off the world’s table: UK and the UN Security Council

Thank you, Madam President, and I join others in thanking ASG Msuya and Executive Director David Beasley for their briefings.

So, we’ve heard once again today, the appalling impact on the Ukrainian people of President Putin’s senseless war of choice.

10.3 million people are displaced.

73 confirmed attacks on hospitals and medical centres.

659 schools and kindergartens damaged.

The devastation in Mariupol is almost beyond description.

Civilians remain without food, water, electricity – people are reportedly resorting to drinking not just snow, but sewage water to survive.

There are credible reports of mass graves, forced deportations of residents to the Russian Federation, as well as incidents of sexual violence and use of land mines. There will be accountability for these crimes.

So there is an urgent need to alleviate humanitarian suffering in Ukraine.

We note the Secretary-General’s announcement, yesterday, about Martin Griffiths’ role in pursuing a humanitarian ceasefire. And we’re grateful for the latest data from OCHA, the World Food Programme, and in the Secretary-General’s statement yesterday about those they’ve been able to reach.

We encourage all efforts to help the people of Ukraine, in agreement with the Ukrainian government.

The UK will continue to play its part. We have provided £400 million to support Ukraine, including £220 million in humanitarian aid.

And we call for close cooperation between the UN agencies and other donors to ensure this assistance reaches and protects the most vulnerable.

But let us be without a shred of doubt, as the Secretary General set out yesterday, the only way to end the suffering is for Russia to end the war.

Global commodity prices were already on the rise before the invasion, as economies recovered from the COVID19 pandemic.

We now see spiralling energy prices, and global food insecurity, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest.

Almost every UN Member State is now suffering because of Russia’s war.

As David Beasley said, we now risk famine destabilisation, and we risk having to take food from hungry children, for starving children.

Russia’s appetite for war is taking food off the world’s table.

Madam President,

The UK welcomes the General Assembly resolution adopted last week.

UN member states sent an overwhelming message that Russia alone is to blame for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, and for the shocks being felt globally.

For the suffering to end, Russian bullets and bombs must stop, and Russian tanks and troops must go home.

I thank you, Madam President.

Published 29 March 2022

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