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Statement by Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine.

Thank you, President, and I join others in thanking Under-Secretary-General Griffiths for his briefing and work on the ground.

Your briefing today, Under-Secretary-General, reminds us of the enormous human cost of Russia’s war of aggression.

Russia has continued to conduct massive missile and UAV strikes against inhabited areas across Ukraine, killing innocent civilians.

The UK is appalled by reports of recent Russian attacks on Ukrainian Red Cross warehouses in Odesa and on a mobile hospital in Mykolaiv. There is no excuse for attacking the most vulnerable, and the brave humanitarian workers supporting them.

We call on Russia to abide by International Humanitarian Law, in particular, to observe the distinction between combatants and civilians.

Ukrainian civilians, indeed all civilians, should be protected by all combatants.

Similarly, aid organisations and aid workers, whose mission is to help innocent civilians in humanitarian need, are not a target.

In Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, an estimated 4 million people are living in dire, forlorn conditions. Despite regular attempts by the UN to gain access to deliver humanitarian support, Russia has never provided necessary security guarantees for access.

We continue to call for unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access to the people of Ukraine.

We call on Russia to stop denying access and to cease its attacks on critical infrastructure and residential areas.


The BSGI [Black Sea Grain Initiative] is critically important. Over 30 million tonnes of grain and other foodstuffs have been exported under the Initiative since 1 August.

The deal has been critical to lowering global food prices and getting urgently needed grain to countries that need it most. As the WFP has said, grain deliveries to any country drive global prices down.

So we urge Russia to stop threatening to leave the initiative and, instead, to agree to a sustained and stable deal.

In the meantime, Russia continues to block and delay ship inspections. This obstruction harms global food security by delaying shipments, restricting supplies, and keeping prices high for food-importing countries.

Finally, President, the UK is fully committed to holding Russia to account for its illegal actions in Ukraine.

We will continue to support independent investigations into the atrocities committed in Ukraine, as part of a just and sustained peace.

Thank you.

Photo by Government of the United Kingdom, Wikimedia commons.