Ms DiCarlo was referring to the recent wave of Russian missile and drone attacks in Ukraine which, he said, terrorized residents of several cities (Kyiv, Odesa, Lviv, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia).

With winter approaching, the offensive, he said, “was renewed fear that this winter will be catastrophic for millions of Ukrainiansfacing prospects months of cold weather without heating, electricity, water, or other basic utilities”.

All areas affected

The UN peacebuilding chief went on to catalog some of the reported consequences of the latest attacks, from newborn deaths in maternity hospitals in the Zaporizhzhia region, which were hit by overnight attacks, to dozens of civilian deaths in residential buildings. in Kyiv and nearby cities.

According to Ukrainian officials and media reports, the country’s energy supply has run out; even before the latest series, practically no large hydroelectric or thermal power plants were left intact. All regions of Ukraine have imposed an emergency blackout, and some areas are reported to be completely cut off from power. Neighboring Moldova has also been hit hard.

Humanitarian efforts to support the Ukrainian people have increased, said Ms. DiCarlo: more than 430,000 people have received some kind of immediate winter assistance in the last few weeks, and nearly 400 generators have been distributed to ensure energy in hospitals, schools and other critical facilities.

“The United Nations strongly condemns these attacks and demands that the Russian Federation immediately stop these acts,” said Ms. DiCarlo, called for accountability for any violations of the laws of war, and reiterated that attacks targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure are prohibited under international law. humanitarian law.

‘The world cannot afford a nuclear holocaust’

Ms DiCarlo expressed deep concern at the situation at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, in Zaporizhzhia.

Despite reported shelling at the factory over the weekend, key equipment at the site remained intact, he said, and there were no nuclear safety or security concerns.

However, he continued, “this is the result of sheer luck. We don’t know how long this luck will last. The world cannot afford a nuclear holocaust”.

The Deputy Secretary-General briefed the Council that, hours before his address, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had reported that the plant relies on diesel generators to power cooling and important nuclear safety functions.

Prisoner exchange

Ms. Di Carlo can point to one ray of light in assessing an otherwise dismal situation – the prisoner exchange.

Russia and Ukraine, he said, had reported the release of 35 Russian and 36 Ukrainian prisoners. He called on both parties to proceed with the release, and to ensure that they fulfill their obligations under international law, particularly the Third Geneva Convention, relating to the treatment of prisoners of war.

All Member States and international organizations, said Ms DiCarlo, must support efforts to prevent a man-made humanitarian disaster in Ukraine this winter.

“The resulting shock”, he concluded, “will come at a heavy price, not only for Ukrainians, but for all of us.