GENEVA — Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Yevheniia Filipenko, warned Monday that “Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine two years ago poses a major threat to multilateralism and the U.N. Charter,” which upholds the rule of law and fundamental freedoms around the world. 

Ahead of this grim anniversary, Filipenko told journalists that Russia’s aggression against her country actually began 10 years ago with its attempt to annex and occupy Ukraine’s territory, including the autonomous Republic of Crimea. 

“If Russia’s aggression remains unaddressed, it will lead to further violations,” she said. “The world must remain united in countering this major threat to multilateralism, the U.N. Charter and the principle of international law.” 

Filipenko said Ukraine planned to draw international attention to the systematic, gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the Russian Federation in Ukraine at the U.N. Human Rights Council, which begins a six-week session next Monday. 

She said her delegation would highlight “the indiscriminate, continued attacks on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, perpetrated on an almost daily basis,” noting that “dozens of missiles are being thrown on Ukrainian cities, with the only purpose to destroy the country and its people.” 

“But we know that Russia will never succeed, because we are fighting for the existence of Ukraine as a sovereign nation, and we are also fighting for every U.N. member state, for their sovereignty and territorial integrity,” she said. 

Since the start of the war, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, reports that at least 10,000 civilians have been killed and more than 18,000 injured, 3.6 million people are displaced inside Ukraine, and another 6.3 million have fled as refugees to other countries. 

The World Health Organization has verified 1,552 attacks on health care, including health facilities, ambulances, health workers and health providers. 

Filipenko said Russia has destroyed 40% of Ukraine’s economy and has planted landmines on one-third of its territory, “making Ukraine one of the most mined lands in the world.” 

A report released February 15 by the government of Ukraine, the World Bank Group, the European Commission, and the United Nations estimates that “the total cost of reconstruction and recovery in Ukraine is $486 billion over the next decade, up from $411 billion estimated a year ago.” 

A survey commissioned by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies finds Russia’s war in Ukraine is exacting a heavy financial and mental toll on the civilian population both inside and outside the country. 

“The urgent needs are growing and are more intractable for every Ukrainian, whether they are near the front lines of Ukraine, whether they are displaced throughout the country, or whether they have been forced to flee to other countries,” Birgitte Bischoff Ebbesen, IFRC regional director for Europe, said Friday from Budapest. 

She said the survey of 10,000 people found that “more than half of Ukrainians in Ukraine and around Europe experience financial hardship, which after two years has led to an increase in debt and to people accepting jobs that are underpaid and also dangerous.”

Ebbesen said a third of Ukrainians in neighboring countries reported having to borrow money to get by, with some families having to spend more than 20% of their income on servicing their debt.

“Many people inside and outside Ukraine have had to start over from zero,” she warned. “For marginalized groups like the elderly, the needs skyrocket further, as they are more isolated and struggle to access services and income opportunities.”

Ebbesen warned that soaring inflation and economic uncertainty have depleted people’s savings, pushing them further into debt, which risked creating unstable futures for millions of people.

Meanwhile, Filipenko, who is aware of the bleak outlook facing her country, told journalists, “We refuse to be the victims of the Russian aggression. Our government is working hard to make sure that our economy keeps going.”

She said that Russia’s daily attacks on Ukraine show that it does not intend to talk about peace. 

“Their only intention is to destroy,” she said, adding, “Talks will come after the full, unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops from our entire territory.”

While acknowledging the difficulty in achieving that result, the Ukrainian ambassador remained defiant in her response.

“The magnitude of the destruction and suffering that Russia is inflicting on Ukraine on a daily basis … is beyond any human comprehension,” she said.

“But this suffering brings us more strength, determination and resilience to stop Russia, to defeat Russia, and to liberate our land, restore the rule of law and the strength of the U.N. Charter.”