Exactly two weeks ago, Mr President, we in this Council reminded Russia of its responsibilities under international law to protect people, infrastructure and anyone seeking medical assistance, including combatants .
We also reminded Russia the negative effects of non-compliance with these commitments.
But once again we are given further proof of Russia’s callous disregard for human life during its unlawful invasion.
Reading the Moscow Mechanism’s second report, which details Russia’s continued targeting of medical institutions and personnel in gross violation of international humanitarian law, was depressing.
The WHO says Russian forces have regularly attacked medical facilities in Ukraine, targeting hospitals, ambulances, medical staff, patients and even infants.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, at least 395 attacks have been documented, primarily affecting Ukraine’s most vulnerable and marginalized populations, including women, children, minority groups, people with disabilities and the elderly.
We will not sit idly by while these actions are taken.
Many people suffered physical and mental injuries as a result of the Russian invasion, and when they needed medical attention the most, they were denied it.
It’s callous and hateful.
Many more people are at risk of developing health problems due to reduced access to routine and preventive health care, including pharmacy services, sexual and reproductive health care and vaccination against diseases like COVID. -19 and poliomyelitis.
This is in addition to those who have been injured as a direct result of the actions of the Russian government.
Additionally, organizations like Médecins Sans Frontières and UNICEF have documented the catastrophic mental health consequences of the invasion, particularly among children who were injured, witnessed violent actions, and were uprooted from comfort. of their home.
Although the UK is the largest donor to the UN Humanitarian Fund for Ukraine, we are concerned that this aid is not reaching all those who desperately need it.
The “catastrophic” circumstances in the regions that Russia temporarily controls were highlighted in the Moscow Mechanism report.
Due to a shortage of pharmaceuticals, major cities like Kherson may experience a humanitarian catastrophe, but humanitarian aid organizations are unable to provide the medical supplies and knowledge that are urgently needed.
The WHO has issued warnings about the lack of antibiotics to treat combat injuries, patients unable to receive early diagnosis and treatment of cancer, people unable to access drugs to treat high blood pressure and diabetics unable to access insulin, which could lead to deterioration in health and preventable death.
Additionally, we have heard horrific tales of “filtration camps,” missing persons cases, and unauthorized detentions in these areas.
We were horrified and surprised to learn that British national Paul Urey is believed to have died in the custody of Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine.
While doing humanitarian work in Ukraine, Mr. Urey, a civilian, was imprisoned.
I repeat: “The Russian government and its proxies continue to perpetrate atrocities,” my Foreign Secretary said.
The culprits will be held responsible.
Mr. Urey’s death must be blamed entirely on Russia.
Just as Russia must take full responsibility for the countless other deaths of people arbitrarily detained and subjected to torture, of people who were attacked in hospitals and medical facilities when they were most vulnerable, of brave and selfless medical staff who only wanted to help and heal, and of 4-year-old Liza Dmitrieva, who was killed on her way back from a speech therapy session in Vinnytsia.
Tragically, the list goes on.
Liza, everyone who suffered and those who perished at the hands of President Putin will receive justice, and everyone else will too.
He alone has the power to end this horror and bloodshed, but he chooses not to, as has been repeatedly noted.
We will back and support Ukraine in its fight against Russian tyranny through humanitarian aid, as well as our pledges of military aid, economic assistance, sanctions and accountability.
Russia has already lost on several fronts.
It must immediately end this illegal conflict, withdraw all its forces from Ukraine and accept responsibility for its actions.