Voicing grave concern over reports of civilian deaths in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, India has said that critical civilian infrastructure in urban areas have become easy targets in situations of armed conflict.
Speaking at the UN Security Council Briefing on Ukraine on Tuesday, India's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador R Ravindra said the conflict has resulted in the loss of lives and countless miseries for its peoples, particularly for women, children and elderly, with millions becoming homeless and forced to take shelter in neighbouring countries.
Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo told the Council that the Russian missile strike on a mall in the Ukrainian city of Kremenchuk killed 18 civilians and injured 59 and the final toll may be much higher.
"India remains deeply concerned over the situation in Ukraine," Ravindra said.
The Council meeting was also addressed virtually by Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, the second time that leader spoke directly to the powerful 15-nation UN organ since the start of the conflict in February.
Reports of deaths of civilians in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict are deeply disturbing and in this regard, we express our grave concern. In recent years, critical civilian infrastructure in urban areas have become easy targets in situations of armed conflict, Ravindra said.
India added that the issue of the protection of civilian objects in armed conflicts should be considered within the framework of applicable international law. Earlier, India had unequivocally condemned the killing of civilians in Bucha and supported the call for an independent investigation.
Stphane Dujarric, Spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said Monday that any attack that hits a shopping mall is utterly deplorable.
DiCarlo said the "depravity of the war was again on full display yesterday following the missile strike in Kremenchuk, in the central Poltava region. Hundreds of people, perhaps even some trying to get a respite from the daily horrors of the war, suffered one of the most shocking attacks of the conflict when a shopping centre was hit by what are reported to be Russian missiles, she said adding that the incident, which should be investigated, was the latest in a new wave of airstrikes and missile attacks in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Odesa, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv and other cities far from the frontlines, with many civilians killed or injured.
This horrific conflict, an open source of instability in Europe, shows no signs of abating, she said.
Ravindra added that from the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, India has been consistently calling for a complete cessation of all hostilities and advocated the path of peace, dialogue and diplomacy.
We support all efforts to alleviate the suffering of the people of Ukraine, especially talks between Ukraine and Russia. He noted that India has also been sending humanitarian supplies to Ukraine and its neighbours, which include medicines and other essential relief materials.
Underlining that the impact of the Ukraine conflict is not just limited to Europe, he said, the conflict is exacerbating concerns over food, fertilizer and fuel security, particularly in the developing countries.
It is necessary for all of us to adequately appreciate the importance of equity, affordability and accessibility when it comes to food grains. Open markets must not become an argument to perpetuate inequity and promote discrimination.
Ravindra told the Council that India is trying to increase the production of fertilizers. There is also a need to focus on the availability of fertilisers and keep the supply chains of fertilisers smooth at a global scale. Similarly, efforts should be made to ensure stability in the global supply of fuel commensurate with the demand, he said.
Ravindra added that India is committed to working constructively in mitigating the adverse impact of the conflict on food security. India has welcomed the recommendation of the Global Crisis Response Group Task Team to exempt purchases of food by the World Food Programme for humanitarian assistance from food export restrictions.
India has been providing financial assistance as well as supplying food grains to countries which are impacted by the Ukraine conflict.
India has exported 1.8 million tonnes of wheat to countries in need, including Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan and Yemen in the last two months. We are also helping our neighbour Sri Lanka to ensure their food security, he said.
Zelenskyy said that Russia's actions in his country had now made it a terrorist state that should be expelled from the United Nations.
Noting that the UN does not have a legal definition of what constitutes a terrorist state, he stressed that the Russian invasion of Ukraine demonstrates not only the meaning of this notion but also the urgent need to enshrine it legally.
Russia has no right to take part in discussions and votes on the war against Ukraine in the Security Council, he said, urging ambassadors to rid the delegation of the terrorist State.
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