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The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres has announced 20 million dollars for humanitarian support in Ukraine, saying protecting civilians must be ‘Priority Number One’ in supporting the people.
Guterres also urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to bring his troops back to his country, adding that he should not begin what may be the most devastating war since the start of the century.
We reported that President Putin had launched military action in Ukraine on Thursday.
Putin had listed three conditions to put an end to the standoff, advising Kyiv to renounce its bid to join NATO, to partially demilitarize and to recognize Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
But, Ukraine rejected Putin’s demands.
“Today, I’m announcing that we will immediately allocate 20 million dollars from the Central Emergency Response Fund to meet urgent needs,” Guterres told journalists in New York on Thursday.
Guterres reiterated that the UN and its humanitarian partners are “committed to staying and delivering, to support people in Ukraine in their time of need.”
According to him, Russian military operations inside the sovereign territory of Ukraine “on a scale that Europe has not seen in decades, conflict directly with the United Nations Charter.”
In spite of a sustained UN-led and international diplomatic push to avert military action in Ukraine, President Putin did just that, triggering a barrage of reactions, beginning with the UN chief condemning the move and appealing for peace.
“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations,” Guterres said, quoting the Charter.
The UN chief underscored that the use of force by one country against another is “the repudiation of the principles that every country has committed to uphold,” which he stated applies to the present military offensive.
“It’s wrong. It’s against the Charter. It’s unacceptable. But it’s not irreversible,” Guterres said.
As deaths rise and images of fear, anguish and terror in every corner of Ukraine are pervasive, Guterres reminded that “people – every day innocent people – always pay the highest price.”
“In line with the Charter, it’s not too late to save this generation from the scourge of war,” Guterres said, “we need peace.”
The top UN official described what happened as the “saddest moment” in his tenure as UN Secretary-General.
In light of this development, Guterres said: “I must change my address and say: In the name of humanity, bring your troops back to Russia.
“In the name of humanity, don’t start in what may be the most devastating war since the start of the century,” Guterres appealed to Putin.