Top UN aid official in Ukraine deplores latest wave of ‘massive Russian attacks’

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Top UN aid official in Ukraine deplores latest wave of ‘massive Russian attacks’

Denise Brown issued a statement deploring this “new wave of massive Russian attacks”, and appealed for the violence to end.

“Grain storage facilities, vital for the Ukrainian farmers and global food security, have been hit in the Danube area,” she said. “A school in the Sumy region was damaged, and teachers were killed and injured.” 

International media reported that a drone fired by Russia hit the school on Wednesday morning, citing Ukraine’s interior minister. The incident occurred in the city of Romny, located in the northeast. 

End ‘brutal’ attacks

Four people – the school director, deputy director, secretary and a librarian – were killed and four residents, who were passing by at the time, were injured.

Ms. Brown added that on Tuesday, civilians in the Kherson region “endured some horrifying hours of relentless strikes that damaged a hospital”.

The attacks forced aid organizations to suspend vital assistance and take shelter in the middle of the day. 

“I have repeatedly expressed alarm about this brutal pattern of civilian harm due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This must stop, and international humanitarian law must be respected,” she said. 

Wide-reaching consequences

The overnight strike in the Danube region damaged a grain storage facility and a trans-shipment complex.

Since 11 July, Russia has carried out 14 attacks against Ukraine’s grain infrastructure, according to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU).

Grain terminals, warehouses and port infrastructure have been hit, along with industrial equipment and administrative buildings.  The strikes have also disrupted Ukraine’s global food supply lines.

The UN body warned of the far-reaching human rights consequences of the repeated attacks, and has verified the deaths of four civilians and the injury of 43 others overall.

“These attacks cause not only immeasurable human suffering and loss for families, but also have a broader impact on livelihoods, farmers, communities and businesses in Ukraine and beyond,” said Danielle Bell, the HRMMU chief.

Impact on food prices 

Earlier this month, the UN said that Russian attacks against Ukrainian port infrastructure are not isolated and are affecting global food prices following the collapse of the Black Sea Initiative on grain and fertilizer exports. 

Russia pulled out of the landmark agreement in July, effectively ending it after roughly a year in operation.   

The Black Sea Initiative allowed for more than 32 million tons of grain to be shipped from three designated Ukrainian ports.  It was signed by Russia, Ukraine, Türkiye and the UN in July 2022. 

Speaking at the signing ceremony in Istanbul, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the historic deal “a beacon of hope – a beacon of possibility – a beacon of relief — in a world that needs it more than ever.” 

The Black Sea Initiative was agreed alongside a parallel accord between the UN and Moscow on Russian grain and fertilizer exports. 

The two agreements helped to drive down spiralling global food prices and stabilize markets. 

The UN World Food Programme (WFP) shipped over 725,000 tons alone to support its work in Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and Yemen – regions hard hit by hunger.  


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