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This war is unwinnable: UN chief Guterres on a month into Russia's invasion of Ukraine

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United Nations, Mar 22: A month into Russia's invasion of Ukraine, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday said this "absurd" war is "unwinnable" and inevitably it will have to move from the battlefield to the peace table as he voiced concern that reverberations from the conflict threaten to spiral into a global hunger crisis.

Antonio Guterres

Voicing concern that 10 million Ukrainians have been forced from their homes and are on the move, Guterres said the world is seeing appalling human suffering and destruction in Ukraine's cities, towns and villages.

"One month ago, the Russian Federation launched a massive invasion of the sovereign territory of Ukraine in violation of the UN Charter. It was done after months of building up a military force of overwhelming proportion along the Ukrainian border," Guterres said in his remarks to the press.

"This war is unwinnable. Sooner or later, it will have to move from the battlefield to the peace table. That is inevitable," he said.

The systematic bombardments that terrorise civilians and shelling of hospitals, schools, apartment buildings and shelters is intensifying and getting more destructive and more unpredictable by the hour, he said.

Guterres said that 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.

Developing countries were already suffocating under the burden of COVID-19 and a lack of access to adequate financing, they are also paying a heavy price as a result of this war, he said.

The UN chief said that from his outreach with various actors, elements of diplomatic progress are coming into view on several key issues.

"There is enough on the table to cease hostilities - now... and seriously negotiate - now.

"By any measure, by even the shrewdest calculation, it is time to stop the fighting now and give peace a chance. It is time to end this absurd war," he said.

Last week, Guterres said that he has been in "close contact" with India and a number of other countries including China, France, Germany, Israel and Turkey on mediation efforts to bring an end to the war in Ukraine.

He noted with concern that the war is going nowhere, fast and 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, Ukraine cannot be conquered city by city, street by street, house by house. The only outcome to all this is more suffering, more destruction, and more horror as far as the eye can see," Guterres said.

He asked how many more lives must be lost, how many more bombs must fall, how many Mariupols must be destroyed and how many Ukrainians and Russians will be killed before everyone realises that this war has no winners - only losers? "How many more people will have to die in Ukraine, and how many people around the world will have to face hunger for this to stop? Continuing the war in Ukraine is morally unacceptable, politically indefensible and militarily nonsensical," he added.

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