UN Security Council condemns Russia’s attacks on Ukraine

The UN Security Council met urgently on Friday to discuss the large-scale missile and drone attacks by Russia on Ukraine, which provoked strong condemnation from many of its members.

UN Security Council in reunion
Photo: Coalition for the ICC / Credit: UN

Kyiv and its allies requested the meeting after the strikes, which were the worst aerial assaults since the war began in February 2022, according to officials.

The attacks by Russia on Friday claimed the lives of 31 civilians and injured over 160 others across Ukraine, and Poland reported that a Russian missile seemed to have entered its airspace before going back to Ukraine.

UN Assistant Secretary-General Khaled Khiari briefed the council on the attacks and said: “Sadly, 2023 is ending as it started – with terrible violence against the people of Ukraine.” He also said: “Ukrainians are once again forced to spend the holidays looking for shelter, removing the debris, and laying the dead to rest, in the midst of freezing temperatures.”

Many UN security council members, such as the United States, France and Britain, denounced the attacks on Ukraine. U.S. Minister-Counselor John Kelley said: “Instead of peace, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin decided to celebrate this holiday season and welcome the New Year with an unmatched number of drone and missile strikes against another UN member state.”

China’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Geng Shuang, did not denounce the attacks and urged a “political solution” to the war in Ukraine. Russia’s UN ambassador Vasily Nebenzya gave a long reply and said that Russia had targeted only military facilities in Ukraine and that Ukraine’s air defense systems had caused civilian deaths.

Britain’s ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward replied that Russia’s actions were the only reason for the disaster in Ukraine. She said of Nebenzya’s comments: “The rest is a flood of lies and misinformation.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his disapproval of the attacks by Russia on Ukraine, spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement. Dujarric said: “Attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure breach international humanitarian law, are intolerable and must stop at once.”

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