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Russia Ukraine conflict

Russian invasion: UN chief appeals for ‘immediate humanitarian ceasefire’ in Ukraine

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The United Nation’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire on Monday in order to make way for “serious political negotiations” to take place and make progress towards a peace agreement, based on the principles of the UN Charter.

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Guterres urged for a cessation of hostilities to “allow essential humanitarian aid to be delivered and enable civilians move around safely,” he was quoted as saying in a UN report on Monday. “It will save lives, prevent suffering, protect civilians.”

A view shows buildings damaged in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 28, 2022. (Reuters)
A view shows buildings damaged in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 28, 2022. (Reuters)

“I hope a ceasefire will also help to address the global consequences of this war, which risk compounding the deep hunger crisis in many developing countries that already lack fiscal space to invest in their recovery from the pandemic, and now face soaring food and energy costs,” he added.

The UN chief stated that the UN Humanitarian Affairs chief Martin Griffiths would “immediately explore” an agreement with Russia and Ukraine for the ceasefire, adding that he had been in close contact with other countries – including Qatar, China, Israel, Germany, France, and Turkey - in the hope of involving Russia in meaningful and productive discussions.

Guterres said that any solution “to this humanitarian tragedy is not humanitarian. It is political,” as he appealed to the parties involved in the conflict and the international community to work with the UN “for peace in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and across the world.”

It has now been well over a month since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Thousands of Ukrainian civilians have died, 10 million have been displaced, and essential infrastructure has been destroyed.

A general view of Hala Orbita, a multi-purpose indoor arena, which has been transformed into an accommodation facility for refugees fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Wroclaw, Poland, March 28, 2022. (Reuters)
A general view of Hala Orbita, a multi-purpose indoor arena, which has been transformed into an accommodation facility for refugees fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Wroclaw, Poland, March 28, 2022. (Reuters)

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the biggest attack on a European nation since the Second World War and has seen over 3.8 million people flee the country to seek refuge abroad.

Food and energy prices across the world have soared as a result of the conflict, Guterres added.

“This must stop,” he said, declaring that the UN is “doing everything in its power to support people whose lives have been overturned by the war.”

There are over 1,000 UN staffers in Ukraine who are working via eight humanitarian hubs in Donetsk, Luhansk, Chernivitzi, Mukachevo, Lviv, Uzhorod, Vinnytsia, and Dnipro.

Air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine early Tuesday as Ukrainian and Russian negotiators prepared to meet Turkey for face-to-face talks, with Kyiv seeking a ceasefire without compromising on territory or sovereignty, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Ukraine and the US hold little hope of a breakthrough at the meeting later on Tuesday, the first direct talks between the two sides in over two weeks.

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