US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said “it’s clear Mr. Putin has a plan to destroy and terrorize Ukraine,” adding that the United States is “concerned that the world needs to be prepared for a very long and very difficult road ahead.”
“If the last two weeks have shown us anything, it’s that the Ukrainian people are not going to give up. And many Russian people themselves, including many Russian soldiers, do not want this war,” Thomas-Greenfield said at a UN Security Council meeting.
Thomas-Greenfield added that “Putin is clearly willing to sacrifice the lives of thousands of Russian soldiers to achieve his personal ambitions.”
“We have been warning Moscow for weeks that, in the end, Russia will be weaker, not stronger, for launching this war. This is already proving true,” she said. “The question is how much devastation President Putin is willing to wreak for this enormous mistake.”
In her remarks, Thomas-Greenfield said the US is “outraged by increased reports of Moscow’s attacks harming Ukrainian civilians in its unprovoked and unjustified war against the Ukrainian people,” and expressed increasing concern “about the protection of civilians in this conflict, particularly women and girls who are vulnerable to gender-based violence, LGBTQI Ukrainians, as well as Ukraine’s population of older adults and people with disabilities.”
She said her Polish counterpart told her 100 refugees per minute were crossing from Ukraine into Poland.
“We also call for the protection and care for all vulnerable children, including separated and unaccompanied children and those in institutional care,” Thomas-Greenfield said, adding, “Children should never, never be involved in conflict — period.”
“Children should never be involved in conflict. They must be protected,” she repeated.
“As UNICEF has reported, we know already that dozens of children have been killed in Putin’s war. And as we work to confirm cases, we know the actual numbers are actually far greater,” she said. “Young children have also been severely traumatized by the violence and destruction. They’ve witnessed so many things to the point they have stopped speaking. The physical and psychological wounds of this war will be long lasting.”
Thomas-Greenfield described Ukrainian cities “under siege, under relentless Russian shelling.”
“Hospitals are running out of supplies, food is dwindling, and civilian casualties are mounting, while the most vulnerable groups – those with disabilities, the elderly, children – continue to bear the brunt of suffering. We have seen besiegement before – from Leningrad to Aleppo. These are tragedies of immense proportions,” she said.
Thomas-Greenfield called on Moscow to provide a “firm, clear, public, and unequivocal commitment to allow and facilitate immediate, unhindered humanitarian access for humanitarian partners in Ukraine.”
“Very specifically, we call for the Russian Federation to agree to and honor in good faith Ukrainian proposals for time-bound humanitarian safe passage in specific, agreed upon locations. We call for the establishment of a ground-level notification system that will facilitate the safe movement of humanitarian convoys and flights,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
She also called on “Russia to change course, withdraw its forces, deescalate through diplomacy” and said the US supports “Ukraine’s call for a ceasefire.”
“In the meantime, we applaud those doing everything in their power to alleviate the suffering Putin has unleashed on the Ukrainian people,” she said.
She noted the US is “closely coordinating with the Government of Ukraine, neighboring countries, and international organizations, including those within the UN system, to monitor the situation and will work with them to address humanitarian needs both in Ukraine and in the region.”
“Whatever course Russia’s invasion may take, we must do everything – and I stress everything – everything we can do to help the people of Ukraine,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
“Kyiv still stands, and we stand with Kyiv,” she concluded. “We stand with Ukrainians.”
Russia proposes new ceasefire in 5 Ukrainian cities. Ukraine hasn’t agreed yet.