UN Secretary-General urges end to war in Ukraine

The Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterresmade an urgent call on Thursday for the world to unite and end the war in Ukrainewhich he described as foolish, ruthless and “limitless in its potential for global harm.”

For her part, the head of human rights in the UN he claimed that even a one-day ceasefire would prevent dozens of deaths and injuries among civilians, and enable thousands more to flee Russian attacks.

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At the Security Council meeting of the UN on the protection of the population and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine, Guterres reported on the meetings he recently held with the Russian and Ukrainian presidents and which led to the first two evacuations this week from the city of Mariupol, in the south-east of the country , and its last Ukrainian bastion: the Azovstal steel plant.

The head of United Nations humanitarian aid, Martin Griffiths, said a third convoy left for Mariupol on Thursday and is expected to arrive on Friday morning, and that he hopes to evacuate civilians from the plant.

In addition, Guterres noted that he had no “outspoken” to tell Russian President Vladimir Putin that his country’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, is a violation of the country’s territorial integrity and the Charter of the United Nations, and that “It must end for the good of the Ukrainian people, Russia and the whole world.”

Guterres also said that during his meetings with Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, he focused on the need to act quickly to ensure a steady flow of food and energy for open markets.

He stressed that “a meaningful solution to global food insecurity requires reintegrating Ukrainian agricultural production and Russian and Belarusian food and fertilizer production into world markets, despite the war”. Russia and Ukraine jointly produce 30% of the world’s supply of wheat, 20% of corn and 75% of sunflower seed oil.

The High Commissioner of the UN for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, declared that with each passing day the violations of human rights and humanitarian law increase.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, he said, 6,731 civilian deaths and injuries have been recorded, and “The real numbers are much higher.”

Starting in late February and for about five weeks, he said, Russian forces in areas near kyiv targeted civilian men they considered suspicious, detaining them, beating them, summarily executing them and, in some cases, taking them to Belarus and Russia.

In other Russian-controlled areas, including the Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson regions, he said his office continues to document arbitrary arrests and possible enforced disappearances of local officials, journalists, civil society activists, retired members of the armed forces armed women and other civilians at the hands of Russian troops and affiliated armed groups.

“As of May 4, my office has documented 180 such cases, of which five victims were found dead,” Bachelet said, adding that her staff have also heard of cases of women being raped by the Russian armed forces in areas under their control, and of other allegations of sexual violence by both Russians and Ukrainians.

A one-day ceasefire would save the lives of at least 50 civilians, prevent 30 to 70 civilians from being injured and a dozen from being disabled, and allow several thousand civilians to safely leave the areas in which they are currently trapped. for the hostilities.

And more importantly, a ceasefire will show that the horror in Ukraine can be ended, Bachelet added.

Griffiths, the assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said that “The repercussions of this war are felt all over the world”and that the UN, which has reached more than 4.1 million people with some kind of aid across the country, will try to get food and medical supplies to more Ukrainians.

The United Nations will also continue to press for more civilians to leave Mariupol and the Azovstal plant, and will explore “all options to reach more people where the needs are greatest, in other parts of Ukraine where civilians are deeply affected by the fighting,” he added.

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