The Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, He affirmed this Thursday that the UN is doing “everything possible” to evacuate civilians from the Azovstal metallurgical plant, in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, where some 1,000 people remain refugees along with some 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers. “We do everything to make it a reality. My first and only priority is the people who are suffering and who have to be rescued,” he told a news conference after meeting with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky.
The capital of Ukraine was target of russian bombing during the visit of the UN Secretary General, according to kyiv. “In the afternoon, the enemy fired on kyiv. Two attacks on the Chevchenkovsky district,” Mayor Vitali Klitschko confirmed, adding that “the information regarding the victims is being clarified.”
Guterres stressed that he had “intense talks” with Zelensky to “make the evacuation of Mariupol a reality”, although he ruled out speaking of specific deadlines. “It is a crisis within a crisis. While we continue to demand a Stop the fire on a large scale, we also continue to call for immediate practical steps to save lives and alleviate suffering,” admitted the Portuguese diplomat.
The UN chief spoke of “effective humanitarian corridors”, “cessations of hostilities at the local level” and “safe passages for civilians and supply routes”. “Today the people of Mariupol is desperately in need of such action. Thousands of civilians need life support. Many are elderly in need of medical assistance or have limited mobility. They need an escape route from the apocalypse,” he asserted. Zelensky, in turn, assured: “I believe that a successful outcome in unblocking Azovstal is possible.”
“Ukraine is open to keeping immediate negotiations to evacuate the people of Azovstal and for the urgent implementation of the agreements reached. We also expect humane treatment of those people from Russia. We hope that this part of the secretary general’s mission will be effective, “he stressed. He also denounced that, despite the Kremlin’s promises, the steel mill continues to be subjected to brutal bombing by the Russian Army.
Guterres, who said he had reached an agreement in principle with the Russian president in Moscow, Vladimir Putin, He also stressed that the UN is “committed to helping the Ukrainian people in this dramatic situation.” “Many leaders have made efforts to stop the fighting, but so far they have not been successful. I am here to say to you, Mr. President, and to the people of Ukraine: Do not give up,” he said.
He recalled what he told Putin on Tuesday in Moscow: “We have a war in Ukraine provoked by Russian intervention in violation of the UN charter and the territorial integrity of Ukraine.” “We do not have two faces or two languages. We tell the truth and respond to the values that I consider essential for peace and security,” he stressed. The Portuguese was willing to intensify the work of the UN in this country, but recalled that “Ukraine has a government.” “The role of the UN is not to replace the government, but to assist the government in its actions,” he commented.