UN chief launches effort for Ukraine humanitarian cease-fire

Mar 27, 2022, 11:11 PM | Updated: Mar 28, 2022, 5:29 pm
Volunteers store medicines at a Ukrainian volunteer center in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, on Monday...

Volunteers store medicines at a Ukrainian volunteer center in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, on Monday, March 28, 2022. Ukrainian volunteers have set up a center to supply army and civilians with clothes, food, medicines and makeshift bullet proof vests. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations chief launched an initiative Monday to immediately explore possible arrangements for “a humanitarian cease-fire in Ukraine” in order to allow the delivery of desperately needed aid and pave the way for serious political negotiations to end the month-long war.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he used his “good offices” and asked Undersecretary-General Martin Griffiths, the head of the U.N.’s worldwide humanitarian operations, to explore the possibility of a cease-fire with Russia and Ukraine. He said Griffiths has already made some contacts.

“I hope that he will be able to go to both Moscow and Kyiv as soon as that becomes possible,” Guterres said. “It’s very important to establish a serious dialogue with both parties in relation to the possibility of this humanitarian cease-fire.”

The 193-member U.N. General Assembly, by an overwhelming majority of about 140 nations, has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Ukraine twice — on March 2 and on March 24 — and Guterres told reporters he thinks “this is the moment” for the United Nations “to assume the initiative.”

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, the secretary-general said, there has been a “senseless loss of thousands of lives,” displacement of 10 million people, systematic destruction of homes, schools, hospitals and other essential infrastructure, “and skyrocketing food and energy prices worldwide.”

Over the past month, U.N. humanitarian agencies and their partners have provided nearly 900,000 people, mainly in eastern Ukraine, with food, shelter, water and hygiene supplies, and the U.N. World Food Program is scaling up to reach 1.2 million people by mid-April, he said.

Osnat Lubrani, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Ukraine, said that on Monday U.N. agencies were able to bring food, medical supplies and household items to the besieged northeastern city of Kharkiv. The Ukrainian Red Cross will deliver them to the most vulnerable communities there as well as other hard-to-reach areas, she said.

But Guterres stressed that “the solution to the humanitarian tragedy is not humanitarian — it is political.”

“I am therefore appealing for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire to allow for progress in serious political negotiations, aimed at reaching a peace agreement,” he said.

A cessation of hostilities will allow humanitarian aid to be delivered and people to move safely, the secretary-general said, and “it will save lives, prevent suffering, and protect civilians.” He expressed hope that it would also help address the global consequences of the war, including the existing “deep hunger crisis” in many developing countries from the COVID-19 pandemic, which is now compounded by soaring food and energy costs.

Guterres said he has been in close contact with Turkey, Qatar, Israel, India, China, France and Germany, “that have been talking to the parties at the highest level in order to explore the different forms of mediation leading to a political solution.”

“And it is my belief that all these efforts are essential in order to create the conditions to allow for, finally, this war to come to an end,” he said.

“I strongly appeal to the parties to this conflict, and to the international community as a whole, to work with us for peace in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and across the world,” the U.N. chief said.

The General Assembly resolution adopted last Thursday that urged an immediate cessation of hostilities focused on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ukraine and called for protection for millions of civilians and the homes, schools and hospitals critical to their survival as well as access for humanitarian workers and adherence to international humanitarian law.

France and Mexico, who spearheaded the resolution, called for a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to get an update on the humanitarian situation. Diplomats said it will take place on Tuesday afternoon.


This story corrects that UN humanitarian chief in Ukraine is a woman whose first name is Osnat

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - A Seattle police officer walks past tents used by people experiencing homelessness, March 11...
Associated Press

Seattle, feds seek to end most oversight of city’s police

  SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department and Seattle officials asked a judge Tuesday to end most federal oversight of the city’s police department, saying its sustained, decade-long reform efforts are a model for other cities whose law enforcement agencies face federal civil rights investigations. Seattle has overhauled virtually all aspects of its police […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Washington moves to end child sex abuse lawsuit time limits

People who were sexually abused as children in Washington state may soon be able to bring lawsuits against the state, schools or other institutions for failing to stop the abuse, no matter when it happened.
1 day ago
Three children and three adults were killed in a shooting at a private Christian grade school in Na...
Associated Press

Nashville shooter who killed 6 drew maps, surveilled school

Three children were killed in a shooting at a private Christian grade school in Nashville on Monday, hospital officials said.
2 days ago
(Photo from KIRO 7)...
Associated Press

Police: passenger pulled jet’s emergency slide before LAX to SEA flight

A passenger on a Delta Air Lines flight out of Los Angeles International Airport was detained for triggering the plane’s emergency slide prior to takeoff, authorities said.
2 days ago
Law enforcement officials work at the scene along Wooding Road on Wednesday, March 22, 2023, east o...
Associated Press

Why murder defendant was free before killings in Washington

Kirkland Warren was out on bail pending a long-delayed murder trial in Arkansas. But when he was arrested in Washington, he posted bond and was released.
2 days ago
Associated Press

Much of drought-plagued West Coast faces salmon fishing ban

The surreal and desperate scramble boosted the survival rate of the hatchery-raised fish, but still it was not enough to reverse the declining stocks in the face of added challenges.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
UN chief launches effort for Ukraine humanitarian cease-fire