A United Nations and Red Cross (ICRC) operation to evacuate desperate civilians trapped in the Azovstal steel plant in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol is underway, the Spokesperson for the humanitarian affairs office in the country confirmed on Sunday.
“A safe passage operation…is ongoing today”, said Saviano Abreu, of OCHA in Ukraine, adding that the efforts are being “coordinated” by the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, “in coordination with the parties to the conflict.”
According to news reports, more than 100 civilians were allowed to leave in the first phase of the operation.
Mr. Abreu said it had been agreed by Russian and Ukrainian authorities that the civilians who have been in the heavily damaged steel plant for nearly two months, “women, children and the elderly”, will be evacuated to Zaporizka, which is under Ukrainian control to the north of Mariupol. More
Describing Ukraine as “an epicentre of unbearable heartache and pain”, the UN chief took to the podium alongside its president in Kyiv on Thursday, vowing to increase support for the people amidst the suffering, and the millions displaced in the wake of Russia’s invasion.
“I am here to focus on ways on how the UN can expand support for the people of Ukraine, saving lives, reduce suffering and help find the path of peace”, Secretary-General António Guterres told reporters from across the world gathered in a stately room, with curtains drawn.
Shortly after the press conference, two missile strikes reportedly rocked the capital, a reminder that the war is far from over, despite the Russian withdrawal from the surrounding suburbs.
At least one person was killed, and several injured – with some buried beneath rubble as two high rise buildings caught fire – according to news reports, in the northwest of the city. More
The UN Secretary-General appealed for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine on Monday, so that “serious political negotiations” can advance towards a peace agreement, based on the principles of the United Nations Charter.
“A cessation of hostilities will allow essential humanitarian aid to be delivered and enable civilians to move around safely. It will save lives, prevent suffering, and protect civilians”, said António Guterres, speaking to reporters outside the Security Council in New York, as Russia’s assault and bombardment of Ukrainian towns and cities continues.
“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. More
The UN General Assembly met on Wednesday for its second emergency session on the Ukraine crisis since Russia invaded the country on 24 February, with two similar but different resolutions placed before delegates, addressing the unfolding humanitarian crisis.
The first resolution, put forward by Ukraine and nearly 100 Member States, Humanitarian consequences of the aggression against Ukraine, calls out Russia’s assault on Ukraine for creating the “dire” humanitarian situation, pushes for a humanitarian corridor, and demands that fighting stops and troops are withdrawn.
At the same time South Africa has proposed a rival draft text for consideration on Wednesday, entitled Humanitarian situation emanating out of the conflict in Ukraine that makes no reference in its text, to Russia. More
It’s time for a diplomatic solution to be found to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, amidst signs of hope that progress can be made to end an “unwinnable” and “indefensible” war, said the UN chief on Tuesday.
António Guterres briefed journalists outside the Security Council in New York, telling them from his own outreach efforts with “various actors”, “elements of diplomatic progress are coming into view on several key issues.”
“This war is unwinnable”, he said, in a stark message to Russia. “Sooner or later, it will have to move from the battlefield to the peace table. This is inevitable.
“The only question is: How many more lives must be lost?
Early WHO estimates indicate that the war has left 500,000 refugees with a mental disorder and around 30,000 with severe mental disorders, based on the experience of other conflict settings. More
Russia must immediately suspend military operations in Ukraine, the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled on Wednesday, in The Hague.
By a vote of 13 to two, with Vice-President Kirill Gevorgian of Russia and Judge Xue Hanqin of China dissenting, the ICJ ruled that Russia “shall immediately suspend the military operations that it commenced on 24 February.”
The court’s ruling – the first such verdict handed down by the ‘world court’ since the Russian invasion began – is in response to a suit filed by Ukraine on 27 February, accusing Russia of manipulating the concept of genocide to justify its military aggression.
In a tweet shortly after the ruling, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that the majority decision “fully reinforces my repeated appeals for peace.” More
Ukraine is being “decimated before the eyes of the world” with Russia’s military offensive against civilians “reaching terrifying proportions”, said the UN chief on Monday, warning that a resulting meltdown of the global economy is provoking a hunger crisis that is hitting the poorest, hardest.
Secretary-General António Guterres addressed correspondents outside the Security Council chamber in New York, and said that with each passing hour in Ukraine, the death and destruction is getting worse: “Whatever the outcome, this war will have no winners, only losers.”
“For predators and human traffickers, war is not a tragedy. It’s an opportunity. And women and children are the targets. They need safety and support every step of the way. I will continue to highlight the desperate plight of the people of Ukraine as I am doing again today.” More
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, 31 attacks on health care have been documented by the World Health Organization. These incidents have killed and injured civilians, as well as destroyed facilities and ambulances, disrupting access to essential health services.
“Today, we call for an immediate cessation of all attacks on health care in Ukraine. These horrific attacks are killing and causing serious injuries to patients and health workers, destroying vital health infrastructure, and forcing thousands to forgo accessing health services despite catastrophic needs”, the heads of UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Population Found (UNFPA) declared in a joint statement published on Sunday.
The agencies’ leaders said that to attack the most vulnerable – babies, children, pregnant women, and those suffering from illness and disease, as well as health workers risking their safety to save lives – is “an act of unconscionable cruelty”. More
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine compels Member States of the United Nations to unite in “cooperation and solidarity” to support all those impacted “and to overcome this violation of international law” said Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday, addressing the General Assembly in New York.
The UN chief was speaking at a meeting on enhancing international cooperation – part of the landmark Our Common Agenda blueprint for multilateralism and collective action going forward, launched last year.
It was the fifth and final Assembly-led consultation, and Mr. Guterres thanked all Member States for their “constructive and active engagement” together with all other stakeholders who have contributed to the themed discussions.
“This conflict also calls on us to come together in cooperation and solidarity to support everyone affected, and to overcome this violation of international law”, he added. More
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has praised European countries welcoming people fleeing the war in Ukraine, whose numbers now surpass two million.
“The response by Europe has been remarkable,” Filippo Grandi said in a statement on Tuesday, while urging other nations to step up.
He added that a European Union (EU) temporary protection directive, announced last Thursday, “offers the refugees security and options, a chance for stability during a time of great upheaval.”
“All European states must continue to show generosity. Other countries, beyond Europe, also have an important role to play to help people in need and share the international responsibility for millions of refugees,” said Mr. Grandi. More