Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday spoke to the UN Security Council via video link to express concern over his country's continuous bombardment by Russia as a bitter winter looms.
The leader asked the 15-member body to condemn and investigate Russia's increasing attacks on civilian infrastructure that have caused a near collapse of Ukraine's electricity and water systems.
“We have the temperature below zero and … millions of people are without energy supplies, without heating and without water,” he said.
“This is an obvious crime against humanity.”
The World Health Organisation's regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said earlier this week that “this winter will be about survival” for millions in the country.
“If [Russian President Vladimir Putin] gets his way, millions of Ukrainians will be left without power, water and heat during these cold winter months,” US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Wednesday.
Ukraine's largest energy company Energoatom reported that strikes on Wednesday had disconnected all three nuclear power plants under its control from the grid, causing widespread power cuts, while shelling has forced the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia plant to operate on backup generators.
The government in Kyiv has even suggested that citizens leave the country as 40 per cent of the energy system is shattered.
“We can see obviously that the peaceful people are suffering,” Mr Zelenskyy told the UN Security Council.
A Russian strike hit a maternity ward in the Zaporizhzhia region on Wednesday, killing a newborn baby.
“We cannot be hostage to an international terrorist,” the Ukrainian leader added.