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Guterres: Russia’s order on nuclear forces unjustified — fighting in Ukraine must stop

Guterres: Russia’s order on nuclear forces unjustified — fighting in Ukraine must stop
February 28
23:59 2022

Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations (UN), says the “escalating violence” in Ukraine must “stop now”.

He said this on Monday while delivering an address at the UN General Assembly’s emergency special session on Ukraine.

The ongoing invasion, which is currently in its fifth day, has left hundreds dead and thousands wounded.

Speaking on the development, Guterres expressed concern over the millions of residents forced to seek refuge, adding that the military attacks need to cease immediately.


“The fighting in Ukraine must stop. It is raging across the country, from air, land and sea. It must stop now,” he said.

“Russian missile and air bombardments are pounding Ukrainian cities day and night. The capital, Kyiv, is encircled from all sides.

“In the face of the continuing attacks, Kyiv’s three million residents are being forced to seek safety in their homes, improvised bomb shelters, and in the city’s subways.


“The Ukrainian government has distributed a meaningful number of arms to the population with the stated objective to participate in the defence of the country. According to UNHCR, half a million of Ukrainians have already fled across the country’s borders.

“Although Russian strikes are reportedly largely targeting Ukrainian military facilities, we have credible accounts of residential buildings, critical civilian infrastructure and other non-military targets sustaining heavy damage.

“This escalating violence — which is resulting in civilian deaths, including children — is totally unacceptable. Enough is enough. Soldiers need to move back to their barracks. Leaders need to move to peace. Civilians must be protected. International humanitarian and human rights law must be upheld.

“The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, within its internationally recognised borders, must be respected in line with the General Assembly resolutions.”


He also expressed worry over Putin’s recent directive to put nuclear forces on “high alert”, adding that the action isn’t justified.

“We are facing a tragedy for Ukraine, but also a major regional crisis with potentially disastrous implications for us all. Yesterday, Russian nuclear forces were put on high alert. This is a chilling development. The mere idea of a nuclear conflict is simply inconceivable. Nothing can justify the use of nuclear weapons,” he said.

“We face what could easily become Europe’s worst humanitarian and refugee crisis in decades, with the numbers of refugees and internally displaced multiplying by the minute.

“I am grateful for the compassion, generosity and solidarity of Ukraine’s neighbours who are taking in those seeking safety.


“It is important that this solidarity is extended without any discrimination based on race, religion or ethnicity. The neighbouring countries will need all our support in the days and weeks to come. The United Nations will continue to assist with these efforts.”



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