Russian missile strikes intensify the need for action among UN Members

The statue outside of The International Disarmament Institute, on Pace University’s NY Campus. The statue outside of The International Disarmament Institute, on Pace University’s NY Campus. National Today / Accessed from

10 October 2022

The targeting of Ukrainian civilians in Monday’s attacks magnified the urgent need for accountability and action during the General Assembly’s meeting.

The attack carried out by the Russian Federation on Monday morning impacted civilians spanning from Lviv in the west and Kharkiv in the east, as missiles were launched from the air, sea, and land. This attack was one of the worst in months, killing at least 14 people, injuring over 100, destroying civilian infrastructure, and causing mass power and water outages. News of this tragedy set the stage for discussion in Monday’s meeting of the First Committee, as nations delivered further condemnation of the Russian government. 

In the wake of this attack, Ukraine’s representative emphasized his understanding of Russia as a terrorist nation, since civilians continue to be the target of attacks. He called this event the “most unprecedented missile attack throughout the war.” In a statement from Mr. Andriy Yermak, a senior advisor to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the strikes were deemed as having “no practical military sense,” rather Putin’s goal was to cause a “humanitarian catastrophe.” Russia claimed the missiles targeted military and energy sites, but incidents of playgrounds, public transportation, and pedestrian bridges being impacted clearly reflect negligence toward civilian safety. As NBC’s Cal Perry stated in his coverage of the event, “Whether you are targeting a civilian population or hitting it—it's a distinction without a difference.”

Russia responded to statements defensively, emphasizing that this attack was retaliation for Saturday’s bombing of the Kerch bridge that connects Russia to Crimea. The Russian representative also pushed the rhetoric that Ukrainian powers are “Russophobic” and uphold a “Nazi-like” regime. Ukraine responded to this statement by highlighting the numerous attacks on Ukraine before the bridge was damaged and denouncing the claim that Russia was provoked, as this statement shifted the blame onto the victim of this war. The Ukrainian representative continued to label the war as “unequivocally genocidal:”

“Its attacks were directed at intimidating civilians and undermining Ukraine’s resolve in liberating its territories...The last time such atrocities had occurred was during the Second World War.”

Finland’s representative provided a response that agreed with Ukraine’s statement. The statement defended against claims of being “anti-Russian,” explaining how Russia’s illegal actions had simply made it difficult to “like” its leadership, and that Finland did not wish to support the killing of Ukrainian civilians. He argued that anti-Russian and neo-Nazism claims by Russian leaders are an attempt to justify the illegal invasions and violence being carried out in Ukraine.

Many other nations, such as Ireland, Estonia, and Georgia, also raised concerns about civilians and their infrastructure being targeted. The representative from Ireland, Ms. Cáit Moran, in alignment with the European Union and the New Agenda Coalition, called for collective action and pointed out the need to monitor threats to nuclear plants where civilians reside nearby. Furthermore, she expressed that the events in Ukraine underscore the need for increased action against explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA). She drew 

attention to Ireland’s role in leading these efforts and reminded the General Assembly of The EWIPA Conference that will take place in Dublin on November 18th.

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by Nicole Piusienski


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