The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, during his visit to the Ukrainian capital, kyiv – LAURENCE FIGA -TALAMANCA / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPH
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Zelenski and Guterres address the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal plant and Moscow points out that they can leave freely
MADRID, 28 (EUROPE PRESS)
The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, has recognized this Thursday, in the framework of a visit to Ukraine to meet with its president, Volodimir Zelenski, that the UN Security Council “did not do everything in its power ” to avoid conflict.
Although the highest representative of the United Nations has recognized the work of UN workers on the ground, he has recognized that the lack of determination of the Security Council is “a source of great disappointment, frustration and anger.”
Thus, Guterres has shown his conviction about the need for the war in Eastern Europe to come to an end and for a peace to be established in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Charter and in correlation with international law.
“Many leaders have made many good efforts to stop the fighting, although these, so far, have not been successful. I am here to say to you, Mr. President and to the people of Ukraine: We will not give up,” added the secretary general.
During his visit to the Ukrainian capital, Guterres was able to witness firsthand “the senseless loss of life, massive destruction and unacceptable violations of human rights and the laws of war.”
At this point, he reiterated his previous words when, after a tour of the city of Bucha -famous after the massacres of Ukrainian civilians came to light-, he opted for the International Criminal Court and other UN mechanisms “to carry out their work so there can be accountability.
In addition, Zelensky has insisted that the Russian invasion has dragged Ukraine to be the scene of images of war and crimes against civilians such as had not been seen before in Europe since the Second World War.
Likewise, the Ukrainian president has asked the United Nations to work to prevent the deportation of Ukrainian citizens to Russia and to make the necessary efforts to bring back those who have already been forcibly transferred.
“Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have already been kidnapped. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are very important tools, and the task for them now is to gain access to our citizens who were deported to Russia and ensure their return to Ukraine as soon as possible,” he stressed.
Before the visit to kyiv, the UN Secretary General visited Moscow on Tuesday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and, among other things, agree on the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal metallurgical plant, located in the city. Mariupol port (southeast).
Thus, Guterres has reported that now in kyiv he has addressed this issue with Zelensky, on which “intense discussions” have arisen to “advance” and “make this proposal a reality.”
For his part, the Ukrainian president has stated that he is ready to start talks to evacuate civilians and has accused Russia of carrying out bombings in the area despite the “alleged cessation of hostilities” announced by the Kremlin.
“We expect a humane attitude from Russia towards these people. We hope that this part of the Secretary General’s mission will be effective, we are ready to contribute to this in every possible way,” Zelensky said.
In fact, the Ukrainian deputy prime minister, Irina Vereshchuk, later reported that Zelesnki and his team are immersed in “great efforts” to carry out the evacuation, a process that has been described as a “top priority”. “We are starting to plan a humanitarian operation,” she said, according to the Ukrinform agency.
Guterres proposed on Tuesday to the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, a humanitarian corridor for the city of Mariúpol with the participation of Moscow, kyiv and the UN itself, which initially claimed that Putin would have been in favor, an extreme later nuanced by the Kremlin, which clarified that no agreement had been reached in this regard.
In fact, this Thursday and in response to Zelensky’s words, the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, recalled that Moscow does not see a negotiation on the situation at the Azovstal plant as possible, since it defends that civilians can leave there freely.
“Civilians can leave and go in any direction. The military must lay down their arms and leave as well. Their lives will be spared. All the wounded and sick will receive medical attention,” Peskov stressed, questioning “what could be the subject of negotiation in this case”.
Both leaders pledged to hold “follow-up talks” through the Russian Defense Ministry and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Another of the most relevant aspects of the meeting between Zelenski and Guterres, and which both have highlighted to the press once it was over, was the issue of humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
In this regard, Guterres has pointed out that his trip to kyiv has focused on the ways in which the United Nations can help the European nation, since he recognizes that “words of solidarity are not enough” and we must now dedicate ourselves to “the needs on the terrain”.
In this sense, he has valued the work carried out by the “more than 1,400 UN personnel” deployed in Ukraine, most of them, according to the secretary general, of Ukrainian nationality, and who are on the ground in nine operating centers in 30 locations.
“This is one of the fastest expansion operations we have ever undertaken, and we realize that not everything is perfect. Anything we can provide pales in comparison to the needs,” Guterres said.
Taking stock of the humanitarian aid campaign deployed to date, the UN representative has reported that aid material has been delivered to 3.4 million people inside Ukraine and that the forecasts are to increase this figure to 8, 7 million at the end of August.
“We are expanding our cash assistance, distributing 100 million dollars – just over 95 million euros – per month, reaching 1.3 million people in May and covering 2 million in August,” he said.
“This is not a typical UN humanitarian operation in a developing country, with many governance problems and many difficulties. Ukraine is a country with a government and a support system for its citizens, so the role of the UN It is not to replace that system, it is to support the government to support the people of Ukraine,” he explained.
In this regard, President Zelenski has reported that he has received “guarantees” from Guterres regarding support through “cash payments” to citizens, as well as “increased humanitarian aid.”
In addition, the Ukrainian president has highlighted the “importance of the United Nations’ participation in the reconstruction” of Ukraine once the war, which began more than a month ago, ends.
The United Nations Secretary-General arrived in Ukraine on Wednesday after visiting Russia earlier this week. Guterres asked Putin and Zelensky to hold meetings in the Russian and Ukrainian capitals to address the war situation and seek a peaceful solution to the conflict.