UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi was "appalled" by the devastation of Ukraine by Russia's eleven-month-old military assault, he said on Friday after a visit and deplored the "senseless" missile attacks and shelling.
“I was appalled by the level of destruction I saw as a result of Russian missiles and shelling,” Grandi said at the end of a six-day visit, cited by a UNHCR statement.
“Civilian infrastructure like power plants, water systems, kindergartens and apartment buildings have been damaged or destroyed. Civilians, including children and the elderly, have been killed or fled their homes, having their entire lives uprooted by these senseless attacks.”
During his six-day visit, Grandi travelled through Ukraine's south and east, visited the cities of Odesa, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro, Kharkiv, and Kiev and held talks with president Vlodymyr Zelensky, foreign minister Dmytro Kuleva and deputy premier Oleksandr Kubrakov as well as top local officials, the statement said.
While touring UNCHR's humanitarian operations, which have been extended to more remote and newly accessible areas of the country to reach over 4.3 million people, Grandi also witnessed Ukrainian officials and citizens repairing and rebuilding damaged infrastructure, said the statement.
“While buildings have been destroyed, the spirit of the Ukrainian people is unbroken,” Grandi said.
“I’m so inspired by their strength and resilience. It’s up to all of us – the international community – to support them as they embark on recovery. I call on States, international financial institutions and others to contribute to this task – and quickly.”
UNHCR is to work with the foreign ministry and other partners to strengthen Ukraine's network of consulates to better protect Ukrainians abroad, including those who plan to return to their homeland, according to the statement.