Summary: Votes on joining the Russian Federation were held in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions. Pro-Russian authorities and military also went door to door carrying ballot boxes. UN political affairs chief Valerie DiCarlo expressed concern over alleged human rights abuses. The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, established by the UN, concluded that war crimes had been committed during the crisis. In portions of the Kharkiv region recently under Russian administration, the UN collaborates with local authorities to look into these and other allegations.
According to the norms, the President should participate in person, according to Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya. He continued, “The Council should not develop into a political television or film venue.”
Voting by door-to-door
Referenda on joining the Russian Federation were conducted over the last five days in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions.
According to Ms DiCarlo, voting took place in polling places, and de facto pro-Russian authorities and military also went door to door carrying ballot boxes.
These exercises, which took place outside of Ukraine’s legal and constitutional framework, in regions of Ukraine under Russian control, and amid an active armed war, “cannot be deemed a true manifestation of the popular will,” she said.
“Unilateral activities aimed at providing a veneer of legitimacy to the attempted acquisition by one State, claiming to represent the will of the people, of another State’s territory, cannot be considered legal under international law.”
Maintaining Ukrainian independence
The head of political affairs emphasised the UN’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, unity, independence, and territorial integrity. She emphasised that in managing the occupied regions, Russia was responsible for upholding domestic laws.
The conflict, which is currently in its seventh month, could continue to worsen due to recent events, including this most recent development.
Ms DiCarlo discussed recent intense fighting in southern Ukraine and growing military activity in Donetsk and Luhansk.
This month, the Ukrainian military also conducted a fruitful counteroffensive to retake the majority of the Russian-held territory in the Kharkhiv region.
In the meantime, daily assaults on numerous Ukrainian cities, including Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as the targeting of water and electricity infrastructure for civilian use, have persisted.
The nuclear threat endures
Additionally, there have been ominous talk about the use of nuclear weapons. This is not acceptable, Ms DiCarlo added.
She asked combatants to collaborate with the International Atomic Energy Agency since the UN is still gravely concerned about reports of ongoing attacks close to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (IAEA).
She emphasised that the civilian nature of such plants must be restored, and any attacks on nuclear facilities must halt.
Abuses of human rights
In addition, Ms DiCarlo highlighted her deep worry over reports of alleged human rights abuses in regions of northeastern Ukraine, particularly after discovering more than 400 dead in makeshift graves in the city of Izium.
In portions of the Kharkiv region that were recently under Russian administration, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, is collaborating with local authorities to look into these and other allegations.
The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, established by the UN, concluded that war crimes had been committed during the crisis last week.
Ms DiCarlo demanded that those accountable be held accountable.
Rarely, if ever, has the international community gathered as much proof of probable war crimes, human rights breaches, and other atrocities as they were occurring, she claimed.
The fact that we were unable to stop them is unfortunate. However, it would be humiliating if we could not guarantee the victims’ and their loved ones’ families’ access to justice.
Extend the grain deal
According to OHCHR, the war has caused around 14,844 documented civilian casualties, with close to 6,000 deaths; however, the actual toll is probably far higher.
Millions of people worldwide still feel its aftershocks due to rising fuel and energy prices. The Black Sea Grain Initiative is scheduled to expire in November, and Ms DiCarlo emphasised the critical need to extend it.
The UN Spokesperson told journalists in New York on Tuesday that more than five million metric tonnes of food have been sent from Ukrainian ports since the agreement was signed, hailing the 5,250,578-tonne total as “excellent news.”
While attempts to remove remaining barriers to Russian food exports continue, Ms DiCarlo told ambassadors that the project is gaining momentum.
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network