A Russian invasion could displace up to 5 million Ukrainians and unleash “tidal waves of suffering”, the US envoy has told the United Nations.
As the leader of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky delivered an emotional early hours speech to his country warning that Russia’s Vladmir Putin had ignored his call and thousands could be killed in fighting, the the US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.
Addressing the gathering of 193 UN member countries, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield said already nearly 3 million Ukrainians — half of them older people or children — needed food, shelter and other lifesaving emergency assistance.
“If Russia continues down this path, it could – according to our estimates – create a new refugee crisis, one of the largest facing the world today, with as many as 5 million more people displaced by Russia’s war of choice and putting pressure on Ukraine’s neighbours,” she said .
“And because Ukraine is one of the world’s largest wheat suppliers, especially for the developing world, Russia’s actions could cause a spike in food prices and lead to even more desperate hunger in places like Libya, Yemen, and Lebanon.”
She added: “The tidal waves of suffering this war will cause are unthinkable.”
Earlier on Wednesday, US defence officials warned that Mr Putin was “as ready as he can be” for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
“He is as ready as he can be. We’ve been saying any day now and it’s certainly possible that…