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Risks of conflict among major powers at ‘historic high’: UN chief

25.04.2023 10:00
Tensions between the world’s major powers are “at a historic high” and so are the risks of conflict, “through misadventure or miscalculation,” notably due to the war in Ukraine, the United Nations secretary-general has said.
Antonio Guterres (third from left).
Antonio Guterres (third from left). PAP/EPA/JUSTIN LANE

Antonio Guterres made the remark in a speech to the UN Security Council on Monday, news outlets reported. 

Monday was International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace. 

The UN chief said: “Tensions between major powers are at a historic high, so are the risks of conflict, through misadventure or miscalculation.”

Guterres urged: “It is time to deepen cooperation and to strengthen multilateral institutions, to find common solutions to common challenges.”

The UN chief said that immediate challenges included above all “addressing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which violates the [UN] Charter and international law.”

Guterres called cooperation among the UN’s 193 member nations the organisation’s “beating heart” and “guiding vision,” and he warned the Security Council that the world’s multilateral system was under the greatest strain since the creation of the United Nations in 1945 in the aftermath of World War II, Britain’s The Guardian newspaper reported.

‘Russia has brought unimaginable suffering to Ukraine’ 

During Monday’s Security Council meeting, the UN secretary-general as well as the ambassadors of the United States, Britain, France and their allies stressed the UN Charter’s underlying principle requiring all countries to support the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every nation, which Russia violated by invading Ukraine and illegally annexing several of its provinces, according to The Guardian

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield warned that “today, it’s Ukraine, but tomorrow, it could be another country,” and stressed that “the world needs an effective UN.”   

Greenfield called Russia a “hypocritical convener” of the meeting whose “illegal, unprovoked and unnecessary” war in Ukraine “struck at the heart of the UN Charter and all that we hold dear,” as cited by The Guardian

Meanwhile, Britain’s UN Ambassador Barbara Woodward told the Security Council that the world has seen “what Russia’s idea of multilateralism means for the world,” namely the “trampling” of the UN Charter and a full-scale invasion that “has brought unimaginable suffering” to Ukraine and “has been an unmitigated disaster for Russia, too,” as quoted by the UK government.

At least one person killed in Russian strike on Ukraine’s Kupyansk

Russia on Tuesday morning struck the building of the Local History Museum in Ukraine’s northeastern city of Kupyansk, leading to casualties, the Ukrainska Pravda website reported.  

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky later posted to the Telegram social messaging app to say that one person has been killed and 10 wounded in the strike, The Guardian reported.

Zelensky wrote, as cited by The Guardian: "Kupyansk, city centre, local history museum. The terrorist country is doing everything to destroy us completely. Our history, our culture, our people. Killing Ukrainians with absolutely barbaric methods. We have no right to forget about it for a single second. We must and will respond!”

He added: “So far, it is known about a dead employee of the museum, and 10 wounded. There are still people under the rubble. Elimination of the consequences of shelling continues. All necessary services are involved.”

Ukraine’s president stated: “Eternal memory to the deceased and condolences to the relatives. All those guilty of these war crimes will definitely be brought to justice and it will be merciless.”

Rescue operation was under way, officials said, with Ukrainska Pravda reporting earlier that at least two people were trapped under the rubble. 

Tuesday is day 426 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: news.un.org, The Guardian, reliefweb.int, gov.uk, Ukrainska Pravda