Guterres calls for urgent humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine


The call followed attacks on cities across the country — most recently Lviv, Dnipro, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv — that resulted in countless civilian casualties and destruction.

Mr Guterres was also deeply concerned about the continuing dire humanitarian situation in the besieged port city of Mariupol, UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said in New York.

Give negotiations a chance

“The Secretary-General strongly urges all parties to declare an urgent and immediate humanitarian ceasefire, which will enable the safe and secure functioning of humanitarian corridors, assist the civilian population evacuate and also provide life-saving humanitarian and medical assistance,”said Mr Dujarric during his daily briefing at UN headquarters.

He stressed that “real negotiations must be given a chance to succeed and to bring lasting peace,” he said the UN stands ready to support such efforts.

Real negotiations must be given a chance to succeed and bring lasting peace – UN chief

Before the briefing, UN Assistant Chief Martin Griffiths told reporters that while humanitarian ceasefires in Ukraine are “not on the horizon right now,” they could be in a few weeks.

Mr Griffiths reported earlier this month on his visits to Russia and Ukraine, where he held discussions with senior officials about the UN’s “aspirations” for humanitarian breaks and how the reporting system that allows safe passage of humanitarian workers and supplies makes can be improved.

Travel to Turkey

“It is clear that we do not have humanitarian ceasefires on the Russian side yet,” he said. he said. “I’ve addressed this in detail and they continue to promise to contact me with the details of those proposals.”

Mr Griffiths will travel to Turkey this week to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about organizing humanitarian talks between Russia and Ukraine.

On Sunday, the secretary-general spoke with President Erdoğan and expressed his continued support for the Istanbul process over the war in Ukraine. He also underlined the need for humanitarian corridors for aid distribution and evacuations.

Asked about Turkey’s role, Mr Griffiths said he was impressed with the way the country has presented itself on both sides as a “truly valuable and useful host” for talks.

“In classical terms of mediation, there isn’t really a mediation going on between the Russians and Ukrainians,” he said, “but the Turks are the closest, I think, of all Member States.”

As for prospects for a ceasefire, Mr Griffiths pointed to the example of Yemen, where warring parties have entered into a two-month truce.

Ceasefire, they are not on the horizon at the moment. But they could be in a few weeks; they can be a bit longer than that,” he said. “And it will all depend on two things: the war, of course…and the talks.”

© UNOCHA/Saviano Abreu

United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths in Irpin, Ukraine on April 7, 2022.

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