© WHO/Marta Soszynska
It’s time for a diplomatic solution to be found to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, amidst signs of hope that progress can be made to end an “unwinnable” and “indefensible” war, said the UN chief on Tuesday.
António Guterres briefed journalists outside the Security Council in New York, telling them from his own outreach efforts with “various actors”, “elements of diplomatic progress are coming into view on several key issues.”
‘Enough on the table’
He said there was “enough on the table” for an immediate ceasefire, and the start of serious talks to stop the slaughter in Ukrainian cities such a Mariupol.
“This war is unwinnable”, he said, in a stark message to Russia. “Sooner or later, it will have to move from the battlefield to the peace table. This is inevitable.
“The only question is: How many more lives must be lost?
“How many more bombs must fall? How many more Mariupols must be destroyed? How many more Ukrainians and Russians will be killed before everyone realizes that this war has no winners - only losers?”
Continuing the fighting, Mr. Guterres said, was “morally unacceptable, politically indefensible and militarily nonsensical.”
‘Appalling human suffering’
He reminded that Russia launched its invasion a month ago, in violation of the UN Charter, after months of military buildup. Since then, it has inflicted “appalling human suffering and destruction in cities, towns and villages. Systematic bombardments that terrorized civilians. The shelling of hospitals, schools, apartment buildings and shelters.”
But the reality for Russia, he added, is that “the war is going nowhere, fast. For more than two weeks, Mariupol has been encircled by the Russian army and relentlessly bombed, shelled and attacked. For what? Even if Mariupol falls”, he warned, “Ukraine cannot be conquered city by city, street by street, house by house.
The only outcome would be more suffering, he said.
‘Time to end this absurd war’
“The Ukrainian people are enduring a living hell – and the reverberations are being felt worldwide with skyrocketing food, energy and fertilizer prices threatening to spiral into a global hunger crisis”, the UN chief added.
He repeated his concern that developing countries - after just a month of brutal fighting in one of the world’s grain producing breadbaskets, and already suffocating under the burden of COVID and inadequate financing - were already suffering economic shocks worldwide.
“What I said from this podium almost one month ago should be even more evident today. By any measure – by even the shrewdest calculation - it is time to stop the fighting and give peace a chance.
“It is time to end this absurd war.”
Refugee numbers pass 3.5 million
More than 3.5 million refugees have fled the country, UN humanitarians said on Tuesday, citing massive needs among the new arrivals.
“This is really another tragic milestone for the people of Ukraine and it’s been achieved in just under one month,” said Matthew Saltmarsh, spokesperson for the UN refugee agency, UNHCR.
Confirming UNHCR data, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) representative in Poland, Dr Paloma Cuchi said that Ukraine’s neighbour had welcomed “around two million people, this is about 61 per cent of the refugees are in Poland”.
About two-thirds of them said that they wanted to stay in Poland “because it’s close to home and they are thinking of going back if the situation permits”.
Amid ongoing reports that Russian shelling has continued to target heavily built-up areas inside Ukraine, latest WHO information confirmed 62 attacks on health care inside Ukraine since Russian forces invaded on 24 February.
Chronic health needs
“As you can imagine access to health care in Ukraine is very restricted,” Dr Cuchi said. “And on top of that, refugees are coming from a long, difficult and dangerous journey, you know, until they arrive at the border of Poland.
Children are travelling for days without proper food, without the proper water. They are tired, they are worried.”
Many refugees also have chronic health care needs which require urgent assistance, as they can no longer be treated inside Ukraine because of the deadly threat of violence, the WHO official explained.
“There is a tremendous number of senior refugees…that have been without their medications for days, they come with decompensated diabetes, with blood pressure with other health problems, and of course, we have pregnant women, who are without prenatal care.”
New arrivals from Ukraine receive assistance in reception centres. Common complaints include fever, diarrhoea, hypothermia, upper-respiratory tract infections, cardiac arrest, mental and emotional distress.
“Some refugees with long-term, chronic, and rare diseases need to be referred immediately to trusted hospitals in Poland, the EU, or elsewhere where beds are available and receive treatment,” the UN agency noted.
Early WHO estimates indicate that the war has left 500,000 refugees with a mental disorder and around 30,000 with severe mental disorders, based on the experience of other conflict settings.
Inside Ukraine, where some 6.5 million people have been displaced internally, UNHCR responded to concerns that civilians from the shattered city of Mariupol had been transported to Russia against their will.
“Of course we’re aware of these reports, but we’re not in a position unfortunately to confirm anything,” said spokesperson Matthew Saltmarsh. “What we would say is that any transfer, movement of people, would have to be done voluntarily and in dignity…UNHCR has not been involved in the negotiations of safe passage for civilians.”
2022 年 3 月 22 日，联合国秘书长 周二表示，现在是找到结束俄罗斯入侵乌克兰的外交解决方案的时候了，因为有迹象表明可以取得进展以结束一场“无法取胜”和“站不住脚的”战争 。
他重申了对发展中国家的担忧——在世界粮食生产粮仓中进行了一个月的残酷战斗之后，已经在 COVID 和资金不足的负担下窒息——已经在全球范围内遭受经济冲击。
难民人数超过 350 万
联合国人道主义组织周二表示，已有超过 350 万难民逃离该国，理由是新来者的巨大需求。
在不断有报道称俄罗斯炮击继续针对乌克兰境内密集的地区， 世界卫生组织的最新信息 证实，自俄罗斯军队于 2 月 24 日入侵以来，乌克兰境内发生了 62 起针对医疗保健的袭击。
根据其他冲突环境的经验，世卫组织的早期估计表明，战争已使 500,000 名难民患有精神障碍，约 30,000 人患有严重的精神障碍。
在乌克兰境内，约有 650 万人在国内流离失所，难民署回应了人们对来自破碎城市马里乌波尔的平民违背他们的意愿被运送到俄罗斯的担忧。