On the Russian Federation’s Ongoing Aggression Against Ukraine

Emergency workers search the victims of a Russian rocket attack that killed at least 47 people in the village of Hroza near Kharkiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

On the Russian Federation’s Ongoing Aggression Against Ukraine

As delivered by Ambassador Michael R. Carpenter
to the Special Permanent Council, Vienna
October 6, 2023

Colleagues, we have been here countless times before.  It’s absolutely sickening and heart-wrenching.  The Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine yet again forces us to witness in graphic detail the death and destruction that Russia continues to inflict on Ukraine’s civilians.

Yesterday, Russia’s forces bombarded a gathering in Ukraine’s village of Hroza as people congregated to mourn the passing of a loved one.  Fifty-two people died in the attack, including a six-year-old boy, making this one of the deadliest attacks on Ukraine’s civilians since February of 2022.  A single attack that literally decimated the village.  The carnage is unbearable to watch.  Bodies everywhere.  Families destroyed while they were mourning.  Picture also this: a ringtone, playing a popular Ukrainian folk song, heard from inside a body bag in Hroza, at the site of the tragedy.  And in Kharkiv, an air attack the next day that killed a 10-year-old boy.  He had a name: Tymofiy.  Another innocent life taken by the Russian Federation.

As if this weren’t enough horror for one-week, Russian troops also shelled a hospital in Beryslav, largely destroying its top two floors.  This attack also injured two healthcare workers and damaged ambulances parked nearby.  Let’s recall that the World Health Organization has recorded well over 1,000 attacks on health care facilities in Ukraine since February 2022.  That’s more than two attacks per day just on healthcare facilities.

This, in spite of the fact that civilian hospitals are entitled to special protections under international humanitarian law.  Let’s repeat again: Targeting civilians and civilian objects and carrying out indiscriminate attacks are all war crimes.

Mr. Chair, the Russian Federation’s willful and wanton disregard for civilian life and infrastructure has been a hallmark, the defining feature of its war on Ukraine.  We witnessed Russia bomb the Mariupol theater where children were sheltering from Russia’s siege.  We witnessed Russia bomb the Kramatorsk train station where Ukrainians gathered in an attempt to flee Russia’s violence.

We must hold Russia to account for its actions.  And Ukraine must win this war so the carnage finally stops.  We will support Ukraine for as long as it takes.