On Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an end to Ukraine’s “cycle of murder and destruction.”
Guterres said he “did not mince words” while speaking with the presidents of Russia and Ukraine about resolving the crisis when briefing the UN Security Council on his shuttle diplomacy last week in Russia and Ukraine.
At a Security Council discussion on the situation in Ukraine, the secretary-general said the conflict must “end for the sake of the people of Ukraine, Russia, and the entire world…the cycle of death, devastation, displacement, and disruption must end.”
While pleading for a safe and effective humanitarian corridor for civilians to reach safety from the Azovstal plant, where hundreds have been living underground for weeks, Guterres said, “As a result, in my meeting with (Russian) President Putin, I emphasized the importance of allowing humanitarian access and evacuations from besieged areas, including, first and foremost, Mariupol,”
“We must keep doing everything we can to bring people out of these hellscapes,” the UN chief added.
Guterres highlighted the difficult humanitarian operation being directed by the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, reporting on “some measure of success.”
He further stated “It started on April 29 and has necessitated a great deal of cooperation and advocacy with the Russian Federation and Ukrainian authorities. To date, two safe passage convoys have been accomplished successfully.”
The first part, which took place over the weekend, saw 101 civilians successfully evacuated to safety north of Mariupol, while the second phase, which took place on Wednesday night, saw “more than 320” people from the region find refuge.
While a third operation is underway, Guterres has refused to reveal any details until it is completed, “to avoid jeopardizing the possibility of success.”