United Nations, February 24
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has made a direct and strong appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop his troops from attacking Ukraine and “give peace a chance”.
Guterres addressed an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine on Wednesday night, the second meeting this week and the fourth since January 31 as tensions escalated between Russia and Ukraine. Earlier in the day, the UN chief had addressed the UN General Assembly meeting on Ukraine.
“I want to reaffirm what I expressed this morning in the meeting in the General Assembly, but of course it would not make any sense to bother you reading again the same text that I am sure you are all aware of,” Guterres said in his brief off-the-cuff remarks at the Security Council meeting requested by Ukraine.
“In between, during the day, a number of events took place…But simultaneously, today was full of rumours and indications that an offensive against Ukraine was imminent. In the recent past, there were several situations with similar indications, similar rumours. And I never believed in them, convinced that nothing serious would happen. I was wrong. And I would not like to be wrong again today.
“So, if indeed an operation is being prepared, I have only one thing to say from the bottom of my heart: President Putin, stop your troops from attacking Ukraine. Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died,” he said.
The UN chief’s appeal came before President Putin, in a televised address, on Thursday announced a military operation in Ukraine, claiming it’s intended to protect civilians.
Putin said Russia’s move came in response to threats emanating from Ukraine. He also warned other countries that if they attempted to interfere with the Russian military operation they would see “consequences they have never seen”.