Russia faced strong criticism during the UN Security Council session on Dec. 29 following the largest air attack against Ukraine since the start of the full-scale war. The urgent meeting of the 15-member council was convened at the request of Kyiv and its allies to address the strike.
"Tragically, 2023 is ending as it began – with devastating violence against the people of Ukraine," UN Assistant Secretary-General Khaled Khiari said after briefing the council on the situation. "Once again, Ukrainians are forced to spend the holidays seeking shelter, clearing the rubble, and burying the dead, amidst freezing temperatures."
Several council members, including the United States, France, and Britain, expressed condemnation of the attacks on Ukraine.
While the number of casualties has yet to be finalized, an estimated 30 people were killed and 160 were injured across Ukraine as a result of the attack. Casualties and large-scale damage to civilian sites were reported in Kyiv, Lviv, Dnipro, Kharkiv, Odesa, and Zaporizhzhia.
"Rather than peace, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin chose to mark this holiday season and usher in the New Year with an unprecedented number of drone and missile strikes against another UN member state," said U.S. Minister-Counselor John Kelley.
"We expect Russia will claim it only attacks military targets, even when the evidence is clear for the world to see. The Kremlin’s rhetoric and lies do not erase or conceal the horrifying wreckage across the country and thousands of innocent lives lost since the start of its war," Kelley added.
Russia's Ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, asserted in an extensive reply that Russia had "exclusively targeted military infrastructure in Ukraine" and attributed civilian casualties to Ukraine's air defense systems.
Responding to this, the UK's Ambassador to the UN, Barbara Woodward, said that Russia's actions were the singular factor behind the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine. "The rest is a torrent of lies and disinformation," Woodward concluded.