Remarks at a UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Briefing on the Humanitarian Situation in Ukraine and Neighboring Countries

Ambassador Lisa Carty
U.S. Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council
New York, New York
March 18, 2022


Thank you, Martin, for bringing us together and thank you to our briefers for sharing their insights.

I would also like to thank the members of your UN teams and all humanitarian workers who are on the ground, providing much-needed assistance in such appalling conditions. We salute their commitment, and we salute the courage of the Ukrainian people.

The scale and widespread violence of Russia’s war has taken a devastating toll on the people of Ukraine. Over three million have fled the country in three weeks alone. Millions more are trapped in conflict zones. Millions of children are separated from family members. These numbers grow daily as conflict rages on. The reports of besieged populations suffering without food, water, heat, medicine, or electricity due to Russian shelling of civilian infrastructure are tragic. The disabled and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. With 90% of those fleeing women and children, there is a heightened risk of gender-based violence, exploitation, and abuse.

We call on Russia to allow unhindered humanitarian access to those in need, now. Fighting must stop so aid workers can safely cross conflict lines to provide lifesaving assistance. And as aid and supplies go in, civilians who wish to flee the violence must be allowed to leave, in the direction of their choosing.

Amid this tragedy, we commend the UN and international partners doing their best to scale up their emergency responses despite the pervasive insecurity. We appreciate the robust assistance of Ukraine’s neighbors to accept and protect those fleeing conflict. We also commend the European Union for granting protected status to Ukrainian refugees. For our part, the United States has committed nearly $293 million in humanitarian assistance both inside Ukraine and to support refugee response efforts in surrounding countries.

Yet we know that needs will only increase if Russia does not cease its violent and unnecessary attacks. Together, Member States, multilateral organizations, and NGOs, must continue to work to alleviate suffering and provide lifelines to those in need, and together, we must call for Russia to end this senseless war.

Thank you.