The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has committed $20 million in humanitarian aid for Ukraine, stating that protecting civilians must be “Priority Number One” in assisting the people.
Guterres also asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to return his soldiers to Russia, saying he should not initiate what may be the most deadly conflict since the turn of the century.
Putin had laid out three requirements for ending the conflict, instructing Kiev to abandon its NATO bid, partially demilitarize, and accept Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
Ukraine, on the other hand, 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 Secretary-General emphasized that using force against another country constitutes a “rejection of the principles that every country has vowed to preserve,” which he said applies to the current military offensive.
“It’s incorrect. It’s a violation of the Charter. It is not acceptable. “However, it is not irreversible,” Guterres stated.
As the number of casualties rises and images of dread, agony, and terror spread throughout Ukraine, Guterres recalled that “people – everyday innocent people – inevitably pay the highest price.”
“According to the Charter, it is not too late to preserve this generation from the scourge of war,” Guterres said, emphasizing the need for peace.
The senior UN official called the incident the “saddest moment” of his career 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.