Sierra Leone Statement at the UN Security Council – ON THE MAINTENANCE OF PEACE AND SECURITY OF UKRAINE


Mr. President, 

I thank you for convening this briefing.

I also thank Ms. Lisa Doughten, Director, Financing and Partnerships Division, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and Ms. Caitlin Howarth, Director, Conflict Observatory team, Yale Humanitarian Research Lab for their briefings. 

I welcome the presence and participation of the Representative of Ukraine in this meeting. 

Mr. President, 

Over 2 years since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, the heavy and intense bombardments, ground fighting, and airstrikes have resulted in civilian deaths, widespread damage and destruction of homes, schools, hospitals, and vital civilian infrastructure, including energy infrastructure, leading to a dire humanitarian crisis. 

We are deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ukraine, which is being particularly exacerbated by attacks on critical energy infrastructure. Reports from Ukraine, as recent as on 8th May, suggests significant strikes on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure (with the launch of 50 missiles and 20 drones in 6 different regions).  The attack   reportedly caused significant damage to 7 Thermal Power Plants (TPPs), 4 Hydroelectric Power Plants (HPPs), 17 Major High-voltage sub-stations, and a gas storage facility in the Lviv region.

Reports also suggest that the attacks have severely hampered Ukraine’s energy capacity.  More than 800 district heating facilities were destroyed or damaged and up to 8 gigawatts (GW) of power generation was lost. 412 settlements remain offline and hourly outages continue for household and industrial consumers in the Kharkiv and Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk regions. Overall, it is estimated that nearly 50% of Ukraine’s pre-conflict energy generating facilities are offline, and about USD 1 billion will be needed for their restoration.  

We are concerned that attacks on the energy infrastructure have resulted in major disruptions in the supply of essential services such as electricity, water, and gas to medical facilities, schools, manufacturing industries and places of work for a significant portion of the population. The impact on the provision of essential services slows down production levels and reduce economic activity.  We are also alarmed by the impact on health-care facilities, including those with incubators and other life saving devices, which in some cases had to resort to use of batteries that ran out before the re-establishment of power, putting the lives of many at risk. 

 Mr. President, 

Given the devastating impact of the conflict in Ukraine and parts of the Russia Federation on the civilian population, we call on the parties involved in the conflict to adhere to their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including energy facilities in the circumstances.

In acknowledging the efforts of the International Community to address the humanitarian consequences of the conflict, Sierra Leone stresses the urgent need for more coordinated international efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. The 2024 Humanitarian Needs and Response Plan for Ukraine must be fully supported to ensure the well-being and protection of the civilians affected by the conflict.

Let me close, Mr. President, by urging all parties to prioritize the protection of civilians and critical infrastructure, including energy generating and gas facilities, to prevent further harm and ensure the restoration of essential services for the well-being and stability of civilians.

We reiterate our call for meaningful steps to be taken towards the immediate cessation of the hostilities and the parties to the conflict to engage constructively in good faith towards finding a political and diplomatic solution, recognizing the legitimate concerns. 

We also reiterate our call for “the full respect of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders”. 

I thank you.

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