Delegates Condemn Iran’s Alleged Transfer of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to Russian Federation, as Speaker for Kyiv Requests Scaled Up Aid, Protection
Accountability remains crucial as new allegations of atrocities have emerged in areas recently returned to Ukrainian Government control, a United Nations senior official told the Security Council today as members condemned the recent attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in the country.
Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, outlined that between 10 and 18 October, at least 38 Ukrainian civilians were reportedly killed and at least 117 injured by missile and drone attacks against cities and towns across the country. Expressing concern over the destruction of critical energy infrastructure such as power plants, she recalled that attacks targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure are prohibited under international humanitarian law.
“We are on a path of further escalation, which can only cause more suffering to the people of Ukraine, Russia, and the rest of the world. This trajectory must be reversed,” she said, underscoring that any further damage to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant could have catastrophic consequences. She further expressed concern over Moscow’s decision to introduce martial law in the regions of Ukraine that are or have been under the temporary military control of the Russian Federation, along with the announced evacuation in Kherson amid intensified fighting on the ground.
Denise Brown, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, reported that temperatures are plummeting in the country as winter approaches amid the devastation of the energy supply, telecommunications and transport infrastructure, affecting access to water, electricity, heat and the ability to communicate. She warned of an increased risk of even more deaths in the months ahead because civilians do not have access to essential services, expressing particular concern over people who cannot be reached in Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia.
In the ensuing debate, many speakers condemned the alleged transfer of unmanned aerial vehicles from Iran to the Russian Federation in violation of Council resolution 2231 (2015), with the representative of Mexico stressing the need to adhere to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 without exceptions. The degree of sexual and gender-based violence and human trafficking in the conflict was spotlighted by many delegates, with Norway’s representative calling on parties at all levels to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law.
The representative of Ukraine, calling attention to the mass graves, illegal annexation of its territory and deliberate attacks on critical energy infrastructure as well as 51,412 civilian infrastructure facilities, urged the United Nations to ramp up its assistance and protection services as well as to provide Kyiv with power-generating equipment. Turning to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles of Iranian origin, he stressed that Tehran must face serious consequences for escalating the Russian Federation’s war of aggression and called for investigations to start immediately.
Echoing his point, Ireland’s delegate expressed concern over the use of Iranian-supplied unmanned aerial vehicles as their acquisition by Moscow contravenes Council resolution 2231 (2015). “The unconscionable attacks on civilian targets aim to intimate and terrorize the civilian population, represent a blatant disregard for human life and constitute a serious violation of international law,” he emphasized, adding that the aggressor must also be held accountable for the targeting of civilians, arbitrary detention, human trafficking and conflict-related violence.
In the same vein, the representative of the United States pointed out that there is publicly available documentation, including photographs and videos, of Mohajer and Shahed unmanned aerial vehicles being used against Ukraine, urging the United Nations to investigate any violations of the Council resolutions. Addressing the Council members that have never mentioned the Russian Federation, he asserted that “their calls for diplomacy only enabled Russia as it commits further abuses”.
As a refute to these allegations, the Russian Federation’s representative described the references to destroyed civilian infrastructure as “one-sided”, as they did not touch on damage inflicted by Kyiv in Donbas as well as acts of terror against a Crimean bridge and on the Zaporizhzhia power plant. If a “pseudo-investigation” takes place in this context, he warned, Moscow could reconsider its relations with the Secretariat, as it would have demonstrated itself as not being impartial.
Offering a different perspective, Kenya’s delegate called on States to open channels of communication and for the Council to accelerate its reforms, lest the war in Ukraine be remembered as the beginning of a third world war. “The present format will lose its relevance and be overtaken by competing multilateral arrangements,” he continued. He also emphasized the importance of adequate investments to ensure Africa’s self-sufficiency on food.
Touching on the recent exchange of prisoners between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, the representative of United Arab Emirates noted that while momentum towards broader negotiations is still lacking, these exchanges show the potential for positive outcomes, along with agreements on food and fertilizer exports. Compromise, diplomacy, and dialogue remain the only way forward to prevent further suffering, he stressed.
Also speaking today were representatives of France, China, India, Brazil, Ghana, United Kingdom, Albania, Gabon (in its national capacity), Slovakia, Germany, Poland and Greece, as well as the European Union in its capacity as Observer.
The meeting began at 3:06 p.m. and ended at 5:32 p.m.