The Russian Federation’s Ongoing Aggression Against Ukraine
As delivered by Chargé d’Affaires Katherine Brucker
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
October 19, 2023
Civilian casualties continue to mount in Ukraine as the result of Russia’s brutal war of aggression. The 59 deaths in the October 5th attack on Hroza – including an entire family – are a somber reminder of the devastating toll Russia’s war is taking on Ukraine’s civilians.
In Hroza, the Kozyr family represents the human cost of Russia’s war. A soldier named Andriy Kozyr returned to Ukraine from Poland when the war began to defend his homeland. Kozyr died in the fighting. A Russian missile then struck the café where villagers mourned his death. In an instant, Russia’s forces killed Kozyr’s widow, daughter, son, his daughter-in-law, the parents of his daughter-in-law, his uncles, aunts, and other relatives. This one Russian missile killed one-sixth of the village population.
It is profoundly shocking that Russia’s UN Representative tried to justify attacking this settlement by suggesting that a funeral was an appropriate military target. Russia’s attempt to dehumanize the victims of Hroza by labeling family members and villagers attending the wake as “neo-Nazi accomplices,” and to try to justify the attack based on the presence of “men of conscription age,” is morally reprehensible.
Also last week, a missile strike by Russia’s forces hit the village of Bahatyr, tragically claiming the life of an 11-year-old boy and grievously injuring his mother and younger brother. Russia attacked the city of Horniak, killing a 44-year-old woman and severely injuring her 24-year-old son-in-law. On October 14th, Russia’s forces attacked the same spot in the city of Nikopol twice – with the second strike occurring as emergency personnel were on-site responding to the initial devastation. And since yesterday, ten civilians were killed in Russian Federation attacks that hit civilian buildings, including a residential building and food store. I’ll repeat what we have said on many occasions: targeting civilians and civilian objects is a war crime.
Mr. Chair, let me be clear. In the face of Russian Federation atrocities against Ukraine’s civilians, the United States is resolute in our continued support for Ukraine. On October 11th, we announced additional security assistance to bolster Ukraine’s defense requirements. The package enhances Ukraine’s air defense capabilities, provides anti-tank weapons, and furnishes additional equipment to counter Russia’s aggression. This marks our forty-eighth such equipment provision since August 2021, a powerful demonstration of our unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s defense.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also announced last week that the United States will spearhead a newly formed coalition to develop Ukraine’s air force to help it defend against Russian Federation attacks. The United States will also participate in other coalitions focused on building up different aspects of Ukraine’s military capabilities, including air defense, armor, and artillery.
The United States has provided 2.8 billion dollars in humanitarian assistance since the start of the war. This aid helps internally displaced people, those with disabilities, and people that have lost their homes, livelihoods, or food supply as a result of Russia’s war. This support, coupled with the 22.9 billion dollars in budget assistance we have provided, aims to help Ukraine continue to resist Russia’s war of aggression.
Russia continues to inflict unconscionable death and destruction on Ukraine, and it is vital to remember the importance of our collective action and unity in support of Ukraine. Russia’s atrocities will not go unanswered. We will maintain an unyielding focus on Russia’s war of aggression. Our commitment to justice and the people of Ukraine is resolute.