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UN assistant secretary-general: Russia's war 'existential threat to the people of Ukraine'

by Martin Fornusek April 12, 2024 9:24 AM 2 min read
U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Europe Miroslav Jenca speaks during a Security Council meeting on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh at U.N. Headquarters. (Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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The escalation in Russia's war against Ukraine is a "direct threat to regional stability and international security" and an "existential threat to the people of Ukraine," U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Miroslav Jenca said on April 11 at a Security Council session.

Russia has recently intensified its attacks against Ukraine, hitting both residential areas and energy infrastructure. A U.N. monitoring mission recorded a 20% increase in civilian casualties in March compared to February.

"Since our last briefing to this Council almost a month ago, Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities and towns have become a daily destructive pattern. This includes intense and systematic targeting of Ukrainian energy infrastructure across the country," Jenca said.

"We are appalled by the increase in civilian casualties as a result of these relentless attacks."

Jenca noted that in March alone, 57 children were killed or wounded, doubling the February numbers. Since February 2022, the U.N. has recorded 10,810 civilians killed, including 600 children, and 20,556 civilians injured, among which 1,357 were children.

The U.N. official denounced Russia's attacks as "unacceptable" and called for "lasting and comprehensive peace in Ukraine, in line with the (U.N.) Charter, international law and resolutions of the General Assembly, respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine."

Jenca also appealed to Russia to grant full access to U.N. monitoring missions in the occupied territories of Ukraine.

Finally, the official noted that hostilities are spreading outside of Ukraine's borders "with regular cross-border strikes into the Russian Federation."

Recent months saw a campaign of drone strikes targeting Russian oil refineries and industrial facilities. In March, anti-Kremlin Russian militias carried out raids from Ukraine into Russia's border regions of Kursk and Belgorod.

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