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


    Aug 23, 2023

    KYIV — Russian strikes on at least 10 regions in Ukraine have left a path of death and destruction over the past 24 hours, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the country said on Wednesday.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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 spiraling global food prices and stabilize markets.

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

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