Russia’s attack on Ukraine children’s hospital was a depraved act of violence: UK statement at the UN Security Council

Statement by UK Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine.

Dame Barbara Woodward DCMG OBE

I would like to start by thanking Under Secretary-General Msuya and Doctor Zhovnir for their briefings. And I welcome the participation of Ukraine, Poland and the EU in our meeting today. I offer the UK government’s deepest condolences to Doctor Zhovnir and the victims of Russia’s latest appalling airstrikes across Ukraine, and to their families and their loved ones. 

Since 23rd February 2022, in repeated attacks on Ukraine, Russia has killed Ukrainian children. Russia has maimed and injured Ukrainian children. Russia has abducted Ukrainian children. And yesterday, Russia came back for wounded and sick children in Okhmatdyt hospital. This is cowardly depravity. And this must stop.

I visited Okhmatdyt Hospital last December. It has become a refuge for children injured in attacks across Ukraine. I saw for myself the dedication of Doctor Zhovnir and his staff and the care they provide. I met two young girls, among many, who were resolutely learning to walk again with prosthetics.

One had been injured in Russia’s attack on Kharkiv, the other in Russia’s attack against Kramatorsk railway station. Colleagues, intentionally directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects constitutes war crimes. The ICC has already issued arrest warrants for the Russian President, former Defence Minister, the Chief of the General Staff and the Commissioner for Children’s Rights for suspected war crimes. 

Since 23rd February 2022, Russia has violated the UN Charter and repeatedly breached international humanitarian law. Its conduct is a disgrace to the Security Council and especially to the President’s seat. Colleagues, we must join together to condemn Russia’s actions and stand foursquare behind the UN Charter and its guarantees of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and behind international law and international humanitarian law. 

For our part, the UK, together with our partners, will continue to ensure Ukraine is able to defend itself from these barbaric acts of violence. As confirmed by my Defence Secretary this weekend in Odessa, where he announced new military aid for Ukraine’s defence. At the NATO summit this week, we will demonstrate our resolve to support Ukraine for as long as it takes. We will also work to ensure accountability and justice for the Ukrainian people. And we will support Ukraine to secure a just and lasting peace in line with the UN Charter. 

I want to commend the exceptional resilience of the Ukrainian people, and in particular, to pay tribute to the Ukrainian emergency services, especially over the last 48 hours. I also express my admiration for the doctors and other hospital workers at Okhmatdyt and for their patience. In conclusion, I call on Russia again to end its aggression against Ukraine and immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all its forces from Ukraine’s internationally recognised borders and stop killing Ukrainian children.

Published 9 July 2024
Last updated 10 July 2024 + show all updates
  1. Added Ukrainian language version.

  2. First published.