Russia-Ukraine: U.N. chief says end 'absurd, nonsensical' war

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Russia cannot win its war against Ukraine and called for immediate negotiations to end the conflict. 

Guterres, speaking at U.N. headquarters in New York on Tuesday, called the war "nonsensical" and "absurd." He said the violence has killed hundreds of civilians and driven more than 10 million people from their homes.

The U.N. has said the real death toll of civilians is likely much higher than the confirmed number of 953. And conservative estimates of Russia's military casualties are in the low thousands.

Remarks by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Here are excerpts of what the secretary-general said:

"Ten million Ukrainians have been forced from their homes, and they are on the move, but 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 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.

"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 and the lack of access to adequate financing. Now they are also paying a heavy price as a result of this war.

"From my 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. This war is unwinnable. Sooner or later, it will have to move from the battlefield to the peace table, and that is inevitable. The only question is how many more lives must be lost, how many more bombs must fall, how many Mariupols must be destroyed? How many more Ukrainians and Russians will be killed before everyone realizes 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.

"The shelling of hospitals, schools, apartment buildings and shelters, and all of it is intensifying, getting more destructive and more unpredictable by the hour.

"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."


With The Associated Press.