Six months of war in Ukraine

Exactly six months ago, the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine, violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country as well as the Charter of the United Nations.

For 182 days, the conflict has cost the lives of thousands of people, caused untold destruction, displaced millions of people and led to unacceptable human rights violations. Europe has faced the fastest forced population movements since World War II, with almost a third of Ukraine’s population – around 14 million people – forced to flee their homes.

During these 4,368 hours of war, more than 13,200 civilian casualties were reported, including more than 5,500 deaths and according to UNICEF at least 972 children were killed or injured by the violence, according to the latest figures provided by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The real figure is probably much higher.

Since day one, the UN and its partners have stepped up operations, with more than 1,400 UN staff on the ground, in all 24 oblasts of Ukraine, delivering supplies – food, shelter, blankets, medicine and water – to those who need it most. including women, children, the elderly and people with disabilities. The top priority of the United Nations is to ensure the protection of civilians and unhindered humanitarian access to all those in need, the safe evacuation of civilians trapped in combat zones and the resumption of exports of goods. vital.

Food and energy insecurity

After six months of war, nearly 18 million people inside Ukraine are in need of humanitarian aid. The approaching winter is a major concern after the destruction of thousands of homes and the lack of access to fuel, gas or electricity. Indeed, it could be a matter of life or death if people are unable to heat their homes. Moreover, it is estimated that a third of the population is food insecure, which is why the World Food Program (WFP) is scaling up to reach almost 5 million people every month in Ukraine with food aid. relief or in cash, but also to help displaced Ukrainians in refugee-hosting countries. Moreover, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that 4.8 million jobs have been lost in Ukraine since the start of the war. If hostilities escalate, job losses could reach 7 million.

To address this complex and difficult situation, the UN launched two coordinated emergency appeals to help people across Ukraine and beyond. The Organization calculates that $4.29 billion is needed to support those caught up in this worsening humanitarian crisis and more than $1.85 billion to help people who have fled Ukraine, mainly to the Poland, Hungary, Romania and Moldova. Both appeals are far from fully funded. The UN is asking for your support to finance this unprecedented humanitarian operation. Donations can be made to the Ukrainian Humanitarian Fund, one of the most effective ways for the public to directly support lifesaving humanitarian assistance in Ukraine. You can donate to here.

The global impact of war

The war goes far beyond Ukraine and is creating a three-dimensional crisis – food, energy and finance – that is crushing some of the world’s most vulnerable people, countries and economies. Last June, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that around 1.6 billion people in 94 countries are exposed to at least one dimension of the crisis, with around 1.2 billion living in countries “perfectly stormy” severely vulnerable to three dimensions. In this context, the UN has called on Member States to prioritize stabilizing record food and fuel prices, establishing social safety nets and increasing financial support to developing countries. development.

The figures show that food prices have reached near record highs and fertilizer prices have more than doubled. Record energy prices are causing blackouts and fuel shortages in all parts of the world, especially in Africa. The UN has warned that the current food crisis could quickly turn into a food disaster of global proportions in 2023. The WFP estimates that the ripple effects of war could increase the number of people facing severe insecurity by 47 million food in 2022.

In this context, averting a major global food crisis is one of the UN’s top priorities, and the Organization has been working on an “unprecedented agreement” to resume Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea in the middle of the ongoing war, “a beacon of hope” in a world that desperately needs it, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said during the July 27 signing ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey.

This plan will help stabilize soaring food prices around the world and avert famine, affecting millions of people, enabling large volumes of commercial food exports from three key Ukrainian Black Sea ports – Odessa, Chornomorsk, Yuzhny. The departure in mid-August of the first commercial vessels to leave Ukrainian ports since the end of February is a huge collective achievement of the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) – set up under the auspices of the UN, with representatives from the Ukraine, Russian Federation and Türkiye.

The impact of war on food security, energy and finances is systemic, severe and accelerating. We are on the brink of the most severe global cost of living crisis in a generation, affecting the lives and livelihoods of around 1.6 billion people.

Avoid a nuclear disaster

The UN also monitors the risk of nuclear disaster. The Secretary-General demanded that all military activities in the immediate vicinity of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant cease immediately, stressing that any potential damage could have catastrophic consequences. The Secretary-General urged the parties to provide the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission with immediate, safe and unimpeded access. Additionally, the UN is working with the Ukrainian government to counter the insidious threat of unexploded ordnance, landmines and cluster munitions.

After six months of conflict, much remains to be done, but the UN is already preparing the ground for the reconstruction and repair of critical infrastructure. The United Nations will continue to be on the ground to mitigate the impact of this cruel war on civilians on both sides of the line of contact. He will also work within his mandate to help resolve this conflict. A process that will require negotiations and dialogue.

It is time to stop this war. August 24 marks six months of conflict, the same day Ukraine declared independence from the Soviet Union. The United Nations is determined to find peace and continues to put its good offices at the service of the parties.

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Mary I. Bruner