UN coordinator: fighting has intensified in Ukraine

Координатор ООН: в Украине активизировались боевые действия

Consequences of attacks on the center of Kharkov. UN coordinator: fighting has intensified in Ukraine Peace and Security

Intensifying Russian attacks in the Kharkov region of Ukraine are resulting in significant civilian casualties, destruction of homes and infrastructure, and children forced to study in metro tunnels. This was stated by UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine Denise Brown during a press briefing in Geneva on Friday, calling not to “normalize” the difficult conditions for Ukrainian civilians. 

The situation in Kharkov 

Daily life in Kharkov is constantly disrupted, Brown said. According to her, more than 100 UN employees work in the city, and the Humanitarian Coordinator herself often visits there. “On one of my last trips there, two weeks ago, there were 12 sirens and 12 explosions in one day,” she noted. The UN representative emphasized that the reality in Kharkov is very difficult for its more than 1 million residents.

“When I first visited Kharkov in August 2022 after arriving in Ukraine, it was a city that, due to its proximity to the front line, was practically empty,” Brown said. –  There were few people on the streets, most businesses were closed, only a few hotels and restaurants were open, and there was no electricity at night.” 

“After almost two years, people are back on the streets, businesses have opened, more hotels and restaurants have appeared. The city is trying to recover and live despite the war,” she continued. The escalation of hostilities and constant attacks are disrupting daily life. However, people are not leaving the city, Brown said. At the same time, power outages constantly occur in Kharkov. They can be managed in the summer months, but the upcoming extremely cold winter conditions are a huge concern, the Humanitarian Coordinator stressed.

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In addition, children can only safely attend school in subway tunnels, Brown said. who recently saw the situation with her own eyes when she visited the metro with the mayor of the city. “It’s not normal that children should study underground,” she emphasized.

Humanitarian access

Not possible now not to mention what is happening in Volchansk, the UN representative continued. According to her, previously humanitarian operations were regularly carried out there, but at the moment there is a mandatory evacuation – this is a government decision. The UN and its partners received up to 14 thousand people in special centers for evacuees.

Most of the people who were displaced are now living in so-called collective centers, Brown said. “Lives were lost, livelihoods were lost, important papers, documents were lost. Thus, we see Volchansk potentially as a place that will be destroyed in the same way as Bakhmut,” said the UN coordinator in Ukraine.

“We have also lost access to such important settlements as Chasov Yar in the Donetsk region. The lives of the people I met there who were determined to remain in their communities were disrupted. Among them is a wonderful woman, Olga, 75 years old, who worked there for 50 years and who was responsible for local government employees. When I went there for the first time, she told us: unload your trucks here, this goes there, we need this, next time please do this. Just the most amazing woman who is now in a place where we can’t go,” Brown said.

Human Lives

She noted that when there are discussions about intensifying hostilities, about missile strikes and about bombs, the focus should be on the people who suffer every day from what is happening in Ukraine. “People are losing their homes, they’re losing lives, they’re getting injured, businesses are closing, people are being forced into shelters,” Brown said. infrastructure, she reported that at least 60 percent of Ukraine’s productive capacity had been lost since the start of the war. According to her, the UN is currently making every effort to ensure that alternative energy supply systems are put into operation before the onset of winter. “It’s a matter of money and access to supplies from global markets, and there needs to be a safe and secure environment to put this equipment where it’s needed,” Brown said.

“I I believe that we all must understand the consequences of the intensification of the war for the people of Ukraine. The longer this goes on, the more suffering there is. But – and you’ve already heard this hundreds, thousands of times – the people of Ukraine are resilient. Yes, they are determined, but they also need our support,” she said.


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