The United Nations has expressed its astonishment after a Russian missile attack hit the confidant of Secretary-General Antonio Guterres during his visit to Ukraine to help evacuate tens of thousands of civilians stuck in “mortal danger”.
A UN spokesman said Guterres and his team were “shocked” by the proximity of the Russian attacks that hit central Kyiv during their visit on Thursday, but all were safe. This is the boldest attack on the capital since the withdrawal of Russian forces weeks ago.
“It is a war zone, but it is shocking that it happened so close to us,” said Saviano Abreu, a spokesman for the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs, without explaining how close it was to the point of impact.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the Russian attacks near the United Nations Secretary-General.
“Today, immediately after our talks in Kyiv, Russian missiles were launched into the city. Five. This says a lot … about the efforts of the Russian leadership to humiliate the United Nations and everything the organization represents,” Zelensky said, adding that it required “a strong response to this” .
A crisis within a crisis
Guterres met with Zelensky after talks with President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday when the Russian leader agreed “in principle” to the participation of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross in the evacuation of the Azovstal plant.
Guterres said intense discussions are continuing To enable the evacuation of the steel plant Fighters and civilians are holed up in the southeastern city of Mariupol.
Mariupol’s city council said about 100,000 residents across the city were “in mortal danger” due to Russian bombing and unsanitary conditions, calling it a “catastrophic” shortage of drinking water and food.
Mariupol is a crisis within a crisis. Thousands of civilians need lifesaving assistance. “Many elderly people need medical care or have limited mobility,” Guterres told reporters. “They need a way to escape the apocalypse.”
Noting the possibility of a UN and ICRC-coordinated humanitarian corridor for hundreds of civilians believed to be still in Azovstal, Guterres said: “As we speak, there are intense discussions to move forward with this proposal to make it a reality.
“I can only tell you that we are doing everything we can to make it happen. I will not enter into any comment that could undermine this possibility.
The local governor said Russia is preventing the evacuation of injured Ukrainian fighters from the steel plant.
“that they [want to] Seize the opportunity to capture the defenders of Mariupol, one of the main defenders [elements] who are they … Azov regimentDonbass governor Pavlo Kirilenko said at a press briefing, referring to a group of militants denigrated by Moscow.
“Therefore, the Russian side does not agree to any evacuation measures in relation to wounded soldiers.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin was “absolutely clear” that while civilians could leave the plant, the defenders had to lay down their weapons, state news agency TASS reported.
“A heinous act of barbarism”
On April 21, after nearly two months of besieging the strategic port city, Russia declared victory at Mariupol although the remaining Ukrainian forces remained in a huge underground complex below Azovstal, where civilians were also sheltered.
Speaking alongside Guterres, Zelensky said: “I trust and believe – just like many relatives of people who have been banned at Azovstal. [steel plant] Do – that the Secretary-General and we will be able to achieve a successful outcome. ”
Rescue officials said at least one person was killed, and several others were injured in the attack on Kyiv, including some trapped under the rubble after two buildings were hit.
Mayor Vitali Klitschko said the Shevchenkevsky district in the northwestern part of the city was hit twice, causing fires in at least two high-rise buildings.
The explosions came at a time when the people of Kyiv increasingly began to return to the city. Cafes and other businesses reopened, and more and more people were commuting and enjoying the spring weather.
Guterres was quoted as telling the BBC: “I was shocked to learn that two missiles had exploded in the city I was in.” “So this is a dramatic war and we desperately need to end this war and we desperately need a solution to this war.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba angrily criticized the Russian attacks on Kyiv.
“With this heinous act of brutality, Russia once again shows its attitude towards Ukraine, Europe and the world,” Kuleba said on Twitter.
Russia bombed operational targets from one side of Ukraine to the other on Thursday.
Explosions have been reported across the country, in Polin in the west of the country, Chernihiv near the border with Belarus, and in Fastiv, a major railway hub southwest of the capital. The mayor of Odessa, in southern Ukraine, said air defenses had intercepted the missiles.
Ukrainian authorities have also reported intense Russian fire in Donbas – the eastern industrial bastion the Kremlin intends to capture – and near Kharkiv, a northeastern city outside Donbas seen as key to the offensive.
In Zaporizhzhia, an important road station for tens of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing Mariupol, an 11-year-old boy was among at least three people wounded in a rocket attack that authorities said was the first to hit a residential area in the southern city since the war. The war began. Shards of glass cut the boy’s leg to the bone.
“It only takes a second and you have nothing left,” said Vadim Vodostoev, the boy’s father.
Moscow’s offensive in eastern Ukraine is gaining momentum amid suspicions that Putin wants a major battlefield success in time for Victory Day, one of Russia’s proud holidays, on May 9. Many observers expect Putin to attempt a major victory in the East by D-Day. , which represents the defeat of Nazi Germany during World War II.
Guterres condemned the atrocities committed in Cities like BuchaEvidence of mass killings of civilians was found after Russia withdrew in the face of unexpectedly stiff resistance.
“Wherever there is war, civilians pay the highest price,” Guterres said, stressing the importance of investigating alleged war crimes.