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Ukraine ‘on the brink of humanitarian disaster’, says UK ambassador

Ukraine is on the brink of a “humanitarian catastrophe”, British ambassador to the UN, Dame Barbara Woodward, warned at an emergency meeting of the Security Council.

As Russia continues its assault on the Eastern European country, Dame Barbara was among those at the UN to accuse the Kremlin of launching ‘indiscriminate attacks on men, women and children’ and raping international humanitarian law.

She said: “Following President Putin’s decision to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a country of 44 million people is now on the brink of humanitarian catastrophe.

“Missiles rained down on Kharkiv, cluster munitions hitting residential areas and injuring residents. Disrupted supply chains have caused food shortages in Kramatorsk.

“The reckless shelling of an oil depot in Vasylkiv released toxic fumes into nearby communities.

“The violence in Kyiv has forced people to take refuge underground, with thousands of people, including the elderly and disabled, unable to evacuate.”

The UK’s permanent representative to the UN told the Security Council that “hundreds of civilians had been killed as a result of the Russian invasion” and seven million people had been displaced, with that figure “increasing by exponentially”.

Ukraine’s representative Sergiy Kyslytsya told the council that Kyiv was “sitting in the Russian crosshairs right now” and that 352 people, including 16 children, had been killed in the fighting on Monday.

He accused Moscow troops of attacking hospitals and ambulances with the aim of “killing civilians”, adding: “There is no debate. These are war crimes.

But Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, said his country’s armed forces were “not aimed at occupying Ukraine or harming the local population”.

A Russian armored vehicle was destroyed by Ukrainian forces in Kharkiv (

Picture:

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)