A senior UN official said on Monday that 124 alleged acts of conflict-related sexual violence have been reported in Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion.
Pramila Patten was speaking at a meeting of the UN Security Council focusing on sexual violence and human trafficking linked to the conflict in Ukraine. Patten is the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
She said that as of June 3, a monitoring team of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had received reports of 124 cases of alleged sexual violence across Ukraine. Children were reportedly victims in 49 of the alleged acts.
Patten said, "From our experience of conflict the world over, we know that sexual violence is the most constantly and massively underreported violation and that available data only represents the tip of the iceberg." She called on the international community to take action immediately.
US and European ambassadors condemned Russia.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that since the start of the invasion, "a mountain of credible reports of atrocities committed by Russia's forces against civilians has grown every day." She added, "These reports include horrific accounts of sexual violence."
Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia refuted all allegations of sexual violence. He reiterated Moscow's stance that the allegations were not backed by any proof. The envoy said, "This is a lie that we strongly reject."