UN Security Council holds emergency meeting following Ukrainian attacks on Belgorod
The UN Security Council met late on Saturday evening following reports of a Ukrainian attack on Belgorod, a Russian city 40 km north of the Ukrainian border. At least 21 civilians were killed, and more than 110 were injured on Saturday.
“We unequivocally condemn all attacks on cities, towns and villages in Ukraine and in the Russian Federation,” said Assistant Secretary-General of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (UN DPPA), Khaled Khiari, during the emergency meeting Russia called for.
The session convened less than 24 hours after the Council held a meeting following large-scale attacks by Russia against Ukrainian towns and cities. “Attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure violate international humanitarian law, are unacceptable and must end now," Khiari emphasised.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the city centre of Belgorod suffered damage at a sports centre, ice skating rink and a university. “This is a deliberate act of terrorism,” he said.
Council members urge Russia to end the war
While the UN Council members condemned Ukraine's attacks, they were quick to point out that if Russia had not initiated the war, this meeting would not be taking place.
French Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière, the United Kingdom's representative Thomas Patrick Phipps and the United States' representative John Kelly were among the voices urging Russia to withdraw from Ukrainian territories and put an end to the war. “As long as Russia persists, the US will support Ukraine in its right to defend itself," Kelly said.
China’s representative, Geng Shuang, also expressed concern about the drawn-out war, saying, “There are no winners in conflict," reiterating China’s willingness to work towards a peaceful solution.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities reported new overnight Russian drone attacks targeting the Kherson region. “As the war continues, we will see more Ukrainian and Russian civilians killed and injured,” Khiari said. “Protection of civilians must be the main priority. The fighting and bloodshed must cease; the war must come to an end.”
Assistant Secretary-General of the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Khaled Khiari
©Evan Schneider/UN Photo/Handout via Xinhua