UN Chief Guterres Calls for Evacuations From Mariupol 'Apocalypse'

Speaking in Kyiv on April 28, Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres said the UN was pushing for a “full-scale ceasefire” and an evacuation of “thousands of civilians” surrounded by Russian forces at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.

Guterres made the statements in a joint press conference with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Prior to their meeting, the UN chief toured the war-battered Kyiv suburbs of Bucha, Irpin, and Borodyanka, where he said he observed “the senseless loss of life, the massive destruction” and “the unacceptable violations of human rights and the laws of war.”

Guterres said the civilians trapped in the Azovstal plant in Mariupol needed “an escape route out of the apocalypse,” and said Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a meeting with Guterres in Moscow a day earlier, had agreed “in principle” to allow the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross to coordinate evacuations.

He added that the UN’s Security Council had “failed to do everything in its power to prevent and end this war,” but said the organization was boosting its efforts and “coordinating with the Ukrainian Government” on financial assistance, food aid, medical care, and other issues.

Zelensky said Ukraine was “counting on UN support” to facilitate the evacuations. The two leaders also discussed the “food crisis provoked by Russia,” increases in humanitarian aid, and the repatriation of Ukrainian civilians forcibly deported to Russia, Zelensky said. Credit: Volodymyr Zelensky via Storyful

Video transcript

- OK.

[FOOT-FALLS]

- Let me explain. This piece is dangerous.

- No. The President said it's going to be offered here.

- OK.

- This is more a ceremonial meeting.

- Yes.

ANTONIO GUTERRES: I'm here.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKIY: You're welcome.

ANTONIO GUTERRES: I think you will discover, there's no problem.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKIY: Nice to meet you.

ANTONIO GUTERRES: Thank you very much.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKIY: Thank you very much. Hello.

- It's a pleasure.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKIY: Hello, nice to meet you.

- Thank you.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKIY: You're welcome.

- Minister, President.

- Good evening.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKIY: Oh. Good to see you.

- OK.

[CAMERAS CLICKING]

- Thank you.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKIY: That's it.

[SPEAKING UKRAINIAN]

ANTONIO GUTERRES: I said with Mr. Lavrov that we have a war in Ukraine caused by a Russian plot to say how committed we are to support the Ukrainian people in this dramatic situation. In Ukraine, of course, we were involved in the Eastern part of Ukraine. But it was at a different level. I fully admit that with full immunity, that's all but it had to be done from scratch. But I want to tell you that it is, and we want to scale up military, our action. But we--

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKIY: I honestly thank you.

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