Kiev: At a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, visiting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticised the 15-member Security Council for failing to prevent or end Russia’s ongoing war against Kiev.
During the conference here on Thursday evening, Guterres, who arrived in Ukraine on Wednesday evening following his trip to Moscow, said: “Let me be very clear: (it) failed to do everything in its power to prevent and end this war,” the BBC reported.
He added that this was “a source of great disappointment, frustration and anger”.
The Secretary-General told Zelensky, who has previously criticised the Security Council after it faced criticism for failing to act since the invasion began on February 24, that “I am here to say to you President, and to the people of Ukraine, we will not give up”.
“The UN is the 1,400 staff members in Ukraine who are working to provide assistance, food, cash (and) other forms of support,” the BBC quoted Guterres as saying.
On his part, Zelensky said that Ukraine is ready for immediate negotiations to evacuate people from Mariupol and is counting on the UN’s support.
He also revealed that they also discussed the “food crisis provoked by Russia, increasing humanitarian aid for our country, and the return of Ukrainians deported by occupiers”.
“We appreciate the clear and unimportant position of the Secretary-General regarding the war of Russia against Ukraine.”
Describing Russia’s actions in his country as “genocide”, Zelensky said that Guterres had a chance to witness first-hand “all the war crimes” committed by Moscow since the war began.
After his arrival in Ukraine, Guterres also visited Borodyanka, a town north-west of Kiev destroyed due to Russian shelling.
Speaking to mediapersons in the town, he called the war an “absurdity in the 21st Century” and also appealed to save thousands of people in the besieged southern city of Mariupol.
“Mariupol is a crisis within a crisis… Thousands of civilians need life-saving assistance, many are elderly and in need of medical care, or have limited mobility. They need an escape route out of the apocalypse,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC.
During a meeting with Guterres in Moscow on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in principle to the involvement of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross in the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.