Major aerial attacks causing widespread death and destruction of homes and civilian infrastructure have rained down on Ukraine in the first days of 2024 due to an intense new Russian offensive.

The Black Sea port city of Odesa in southern Ukraine is being targeted by new missile attacks.
The Black Sea port city of Odesa in southern Ukraine is being targeted by new missile attacks. © UNOCHA/Alina Basiuk

In a statement on Tuesday, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Denise Brown strongly condemned the assaults targeting mostly cities.

“For the people of Ukraine, the new year started with loss, pain, and anguish. For the third day in a row, vast aerial assaults by the Russian Federation have caused death – including several children - and destruction of homes”, Ms. Brown stated.

She emphasized that the situation is particularly alarming as many parts of the capital, Kyiv, have been left without electricity or water, which is particularly dangerous as temperatures are forecast to drop to -20 degrees Celsius later this week.

Support to Ukraine

The humanitarian crisis is equally harsh in the Donetsk Region, where hostilities have left hundreds of thousands of people without any power, exacerbating the already dire situation.

In the face of this devastation, Ms. Brown reiterated the commitment of humanitarians to continue supporting the people of Ukraine.

“Today, my thoughts are with the families and friends of those killed or injured, and with those who fear for the missing”, Ms. Brown said, stressing the need to aid those “suffering the devastation caused by Russia’s invasion.”

In a tweet, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) posted that many children in the capital were forced to spend the night sheltering in the city’s metro stations.

Russian city hit

During the last meeting of the Security Council during 2023 – convened at the request of Russia on Saturday – a senior UN political affairs official condemned attacks against the Russian city of Belgorod, located near the Ukrainian border.

At least 18 civilians were killed and more than 100 injured there, said Khaled Khiari, Assistant Secretary-General with the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs.

Violation of humanitarian law

Ms. Brown on Tuesday once again reminded the Russian Federation that ‘indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure are strictly forbidden under international humanitarian law’.