UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday again called for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Ukraine to allow for the delivery of life-saving aid as well as evacuations.
The appeal followed attacks on cities across the country, which reportedly resulted in numerous civilian casualties and destruction.
Guterres was also greatly concerned about the continuing appalling humanitarian situation in the besieged port city of Mariupol, Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the secretary-general, said at a regular press briefing.
“The [UN] secretary-general strongly urges all parties to enact an urgent and immediate humanitarian cease-fire, which will enable the safe and secure functioning of humanitarian corridors, help evacuate civilian residents and also deliver life-saving humanitarian and medical assistance,” said Dujarric.
Adding that “genuine negotiations must be given a chance to succeed and to bring lasting peace,” he said the UN stands ready to help.
Martin Griffiths, the UN undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and the emergency relief coordinator, told journalists prior to the briefing that humanitarian cease-fires in Ukraine are “not on the horizon,” but could occur in a couple of weeks.
During his visits to Russia and Ukraine earlier in April, Griffiths met with senior officials to discuss UN “aspirations” for humanitarian pauses and on how to improve the notification system that allows safe passage of humanitarian workers and supplies.
“Obviously we have not yet got humanitarian cease-fires in place on the Russian side,” the UN relief chief said. “I went into a lot of details on this, and they continue to promise to get back to me on the details of those proposals.”
Griffiths will travel to Turkey this week to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on hosting humanitarian talks between Russia and Ukraine. On Sunday, Guterres spoke with Erdogan, expressing his ongoing support for the Istanbul process related to the crisis in Ukraine.
Asked about Turkey’s role, Griffiths said he was impressed by how the country has presented itself to both sides as a “genuinely valuable and useful host” for talks.
“In classical mediation terms, there isn’t a mediation really going between the Russians and Ukrainians,” he said, “but the Turks come closest to it in terms of all member states.”