United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, António Guterres, has again called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine.
HE said in New York, the United States (U.S.) on Monday that the ceasefire would allow delivery of life-saving aid as well as evacuation of people in the country.
UN Spokesperson, Mr Stéphane Dujarric, said Guterres made the appeal following Russia’s attacks on cities across Ukraine.
Mostly affected are Lviv, Dnipro, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv, resulting in numerous civilian casualties and destruction.
“Guterres is also greatly concerned about the continuing appalling humanitarian situation in the besieged port city of Mariupol,’’ Dujarric told newsmen at the UN headquarters.
“The secretary-general strongly urges all parties to enact an urgent and immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
“This will enable the safe and secure functioning of humanitarian corridors; help evacuate civilian residents and also deliver life-saving humanitarian and medical assistance,’’ he said.
He emphasised that genuine negotiations must be given a chance to succeed and to bring lasting peace, noting that the UN was ready to support such efforts.
Prior to the briefing, UN relief chief, Martin Griffiths, told newsmen that while humanitarian ceasefires in Ukraine were “not on the horizon right now, they could be in a couple of weeks’’.
Griffiths reported on his visits to Russia and Ukraine earlier this month, where he held discussions with senior officials on UN “aspirations’’ for humanitarian pauses.
He also discussed on how to improve the notification system that allowed safe passage of humanitarian workers and supplies.
“Obviously we have not yet got humanitarian ceasefires in place on the Russian side.
“I went into a lot of details on this, and they continue to promise to get back to me on the details of those proposals,’’ he said.
Griffiths will travel to Turkey this week to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on hosting humanitarian talks between Russia and Ukraine.
On Sunday, the secretary-general spoke with President Erdoğan, expressing his on-going support for the Istanbul process related to the war in Ukraine.
He also underlined the need for humanitarian corridors for aid distribution and evacuations.
Asked about Turkey’s role, Griffiths said he was impressed by how the country had presented itself to both sides as a “genuinely valuable and useful host’’ for talks.
“In classical mediation terms, there isn’t a mediation really going on between the Russians and Ukrainians,’’ he said, adding that “the Turks come closest to it, I think, of all member states.’’