Statement by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on the Refugee Crisis Caused by Putin’s War of Choice

United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
March 3, 2022

Statement by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on the Refugee Crisis Caused by Putin’s War of Choice

Today, we reached a grim milestone in Vladimir Putin’s war of choice against Ukraine. More than one million people have now left Ukraine, seeking refuge in neighboring countries as civilian casualties and death tolls mount. They are fleeing increasingly violent and widespread strikes by Russian forces against residential areas and infrastructure – from the shelling of hospitals and kindergartens to rockets targeting central city squares.

The human toll of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable attack against its sovereign neighbor is growing exponentially each day. The United States stands ready with its allies and partners to help Ukrainians in their time of need. Last week, we announced nearly $54 million in additional humanitarian assistance to those affected by Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine, bringing our total humanitarian assistance to nearly $405 million to vulnerable communities since Russia invaded Ukraine eight years ago. And the United States has deployed experts to bolster the international humanitarian response in coordination with European allies, partners, and international organizations.

We’re also working to support the frontline countries – including Poland, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia – that have opened their borders, opened their hearts, and opened their homes to those fleeing Ukraine. We reiterate the UN Refugee Agency’s call to help and welcome all those fleeing conflict, without regard to race or nationality and to take steps to ensure the protection of those who are most vulnerable. And we call on all countries to respond to the UN’s urgent humanitarian funding appeal, which has already seen a generous outpouring of $1.5 billion as the international community unites for Ukraine.

The world demands that Russia abide by international humanitarian law, which prohibits intentionally targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, and allow humanitarian agencies full and secure access to people in need of aid. Ultimately, it is up to Putin to stop this humanitarian catastrophe by ending this war and ceasing these unconscionable attacks against the people of Ukraine.