The United Nations expressed astonishment after a Russian missile attack hit close to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as he visited Ukraine to help the evacuation of tens of thousands of civilians caught in “mortal danger”.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Guterres and his team were “shocked” by the proximity of the Russian attacks that slammed into central Kyiv as they visited on Thursday but were all safe, a UN spokesman said. It was the boldest attack on the capital since Moscow’s forces retreated weeks ago.
“It is a war zone but it is shocking that it happened close to us,” said Saviano Abreu, spokesperson for the UN’s humanitarian office, without saying how close they were to the point of impact.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy denounced the Russian attacks near the UN’s secretary-general.
“Today, immediately after the end of our talks in Kyiv, Russian missiles flew into the city. Five rockets. And this says a lot … about the Russian leadership’s efforts to humiliate the UN and everything that the organisation represents,” Zelenskyy said, adding it required “a correspondingly powerful reaction”.
Crisis within a crisis’
Guterres met with Zelenskyy following talks with President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday when the Russian leader agreed “in principle” to UN and International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) involvement in evacuating the Azovstal plant.
Guterres said intense discussions were continuing to enable the evacuation of the steel plant where fighters and civilians are holed up in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
The Mariupol city council has said about 100,000 residents across the city are “in mortal danger” because of Russian shelling and unsanitary conditions, and described a “catastrophic” shortage of drinking water and food.
“Mariupol is a crisis within a crisis. Thousands ofReferring to the possibility of a UN and ICRC-coordinated humanitarian corridor for the hundreds of civilians believed to still be in Azovstal, Guterres said: “As we speak, there are intense discussions to move forward on this proposal to make it a reality.
civilians need life-saving assistance. Many are elderly, in need of medical care or have limited mobility,” Guterres told reporters. “They need an escape route out of the apocalypse.”
“I can only tell you we are doing everything we can to make it happen. I’m not going to enter into any comment that could undermine that possibility,” he said.
Russia is preventing wounded Ukrainian fighters from being evacuated from the steel factory, the local governor said.