Security Council Briefing on the Humanitarian Situation in Ukraine
Monday, 6 February 2023
Statement of Italy, delivered by Ambassador Maurizio Massari, Permanent Representative to the United Nations
I would like to thank Undersecretary General Griffiths for his sober but alarming update. Let me express also our sincere congratulations to Malta for assuming the presidency of such an important body in the month of February.
Sadly, February is also the month that will mark the end of an entire year since Russia began its illegal, unjustifiable, and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine.
Russia should understand that even though a year has passed, we will continue to stand together with the Ukrainian people and Government, more united than ever, to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the multilateral order, as recognized in the UN Charter we all signed.
For this reason, Italy fully aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union. Let me also add some considerations in my national capacity.
We condemn in the strongest possible way Russia’s inhumane attacks targeting critical infrastructure, in particular energy and water facilities, and cities across Ukraine. These are not military objectives but only indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population and civilian objects, constituting a war crime and a brutal violation of International Humanitarian Law.
Russia will be held accountable for these crimes and will also have to pay for the reparation of critical infrastructure damaged or destroyed through its brutal war. Indeed, there can be no peace without justice and no impunity for war crimes and other atrocities.
Russia’s aggression on Ukraine has pushed roughly 40% of the Ukrainian population in need of humanitarian assistance. Italy has promptly ensured its support to Ukraine by contributing to the humanitarian response both through financial allocations of tens of millions of dollars, as well as through tons of in-kind donations.
This exact week we are also distributing a significant number of generators to help the Ukrainian population to face the harsh winter without the necessary heating, due to the Russian shelling of the electrical system.
Looking at the bigger humanitarian picture, we are also funding the initiative “Grain from Ukraine”, launched by the Ukrainian Government, to provide vital food directly to the most vulnerable Countries, especially in Africa.
However, only the continuous renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative – on which we must reiterate our support for the outstanding work of the Secretary-General and the Emergency Relief Coordinator – can ensure that the world does not fall into a worrisome famine emergency. Hence, we call on Russia to avoid any disinformation and politicization of this “beacon of hope”.
At the end of the day, the only real way to alleviate people suffering in Ukraine and tackle the global humanitarian consequences of Russia’s aggression is to put an end to this war.
To date, unfortunately, we have not seen evidence that Russia is committed to genuine and sustainable peace efforts. Russia can end this war immediately by ceasing its attacks and withdrawing its forces from the internationally recognized territory of Ukraine.
With a view to a viable post-war peace settlement, Italy welcomes Ukrainian ideas and visions for a just peace and remains ready to support arrangements on sustained security to help Ukraine defend itself, secure its free and democratic future, and deter future aggression in line with its rights enshrined in the UN Charter.
I thank you.