Photo: Guterres and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shake hands Photos: UN NEWS
Guterres and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shake hands at a news conference in Kyiv. (Photo: UN )
29 April 2022
U.N. Secretary General António Guterres visited Ukrainian towns where Russian forces have been accused of committing war crimes, condemning an “evil” war he said has exacted the “highest price” on civilians.
In Kyiv, he also met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — two days after the U.N. chief met with Russian President Vladimir Putin — and pledged to “boost our efforts across the board” to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians.
“I want the Ukrainian people to know that the world sees you, hears you, and is in awe of your resilience and resolve. I also know that words of solidarity are not enough. I am here to zero in on needs on the ground and scale up operations.”
— Secretary-General António Guterres tells Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the UN will not give up.
“When I see those destroyed buildings, I must say what I feel. I imagined my family in one of those houses that is now destroyed and black,” the secretary general said to journalists in the town of Borodyanka, one of the three war-torn towns he visited. “I see my granddaughters running away in panic, part of the family eventually killed.”
The war is an absurdity in the 21st century,” Guterres said. “The war is evil.”
In Borodyanka, where Washington Post reporters witnessed scenes of utter devastation caused by Russian airstrikes, Guterres spoke to the area’s governor, who told him that although residents were returning, some were still looking for bodies in houses.
“Wherever there is a war, the highest price is paid by civilians,” Guterres said in Irpin, northwest of Kyiv. He was speaking from the destroyed Irpinksy Lipki residential complex, and said everyone should remember that “innocent civilians were living in these buildings. They were paying the highest price for a war for which they have not contributed at all.”
Democracy Dies in Darkness
Upon returning to Kyiv from his visit to devastated suburbs, the secretary general was “visibly affected — personally affected by it,” Kris Janowski, the U.N. spokesperson for Ukraine, told U.N. News.