UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States, Ukraine and six allies accused Russia on Wednesday of using North Korean ballistic missiles and launchers in a series of devastating aerial attacks against Ukraine, in violation of U.N. sanctions.

Their joint statement, issued ahead of a Security Council meeting on Ukraine, cited the use of North Korean weapons during waves of strikes on Dec. 30, Jan. 2 and Jan. 6 and said the violations increase suffering of the Ukrainian people, “support Russia’s brutal war of aggression, and undermine the global nonproliferation regime.”

The eight countries — also including France, the United Kingdom, Japan, Malta, South Korea and Slovenia — accused Russia of exploiting its position as a veto-wielding permanent member of the council and warned that “each violation makes the world a much more dangerous place.”

At the council meeting, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the information came from U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, but he said representatives of the Ukrainian air force “specifically said that Kyiv did not have any evidence of this fact.”

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Nebenzia accused Ukraine of using American and European weapons “to hit Christmas markets, residential buildings, women, the elderly and children” in the Russian city of Belgorod near the Ukrainian border and elsewhere.

U.N. political chief Rosemary DiCarlo told the council that Ukraine has suffered some of the worst attacks since Russia’s February 2022 invasion in recent weeks, with 69% of civilian casualties in the frontline regions of Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

Over the recent holiday period, she said, “Russian missiles and drones targeted numerous locations across the country,” including the capital Kyiv and the western city of Lviv.

Between Dec. 29 and Jan. 2, the U.N. humanitarian office recorded 519 civilian casualties, DiCarlo said: 98 people killed and 423 injured. That includes 58 civilians killed and 158 injured on Dec. 29 in Russian drone and missile strikes across the country, “the highest number of civilian casualties in a single day in all of 2023,” she said.

The following day, at least 24 civilians were reportedly killed and more than 100 others injured in strikes on Belgorod attributed to Ukraine, she said. Russia’s Nebenzia said a Christmas market was hit.

“We unequivocally condemn all attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, wherever they occur and whoever carries them out,” DiCarlo said. “Such actions violate international humanitarian law and must cease immediately.”

DiCarlo lamented that “ on the brink of the third year of the gravest armed conflict in Europe since the Second World War,” there is “no end in sight.”

Edem Worsornu, the U.N. humanitarian organization’s operations director, told the council that across Ukraine, “attacks and extreme weather left millions of people, in a record 1,000 villages and towns, without electricity or water at the beginning of this week, as temperatures dropped to below minus 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit).”

She said incidents that seriously impacted aid operations spiked to more than 50, “the majority of them bombardments that have hit warehouses.”

“In December alone, five humanitarian warehouses were damaged and burned to the ground in the Kherson region, destroying tons of much needed relief items, including food, shelter materials and medical supplies,” Worsornu said.

She said that more than 14.6 million Ukrainians, about 40% of the population, need humanitarian assistance.

In 2023, the U.N. received more than $2.5 billion of the $3.9 billion it requested and was able to reach 11 million people across Ukraine with humanitarian assistance.

This year, the U.N. appeal for $3.1 billion to aid 8.5 million people will be launched in Geneva next week, Worsornu said, urging donors to continue their generosity.

This article first appeared on APnews.com