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24th Feb 2022

UN chief warns of “worst war since beginning of the century”

Dave Hanratty

Russia Ukraine war

“President Putin, in the name of humanity; bring your troops back to Russia.”

Secretary-General for the United Nations António Guterres has issued an impassioned plea to Russian president Vladimir Putin to call his troops back home “in the name of humanity”.

Speaking following dramatic escalation in the Russia/Ukraine conflict on Thursday morning, Guterres expressed his fear over the potential for the worst war in many years.

“This is the saddest moment in my tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations,” said Guterres during a public address.

“I started this meeting of the Security Council addressing President Putin and telling him from the bottom of my heart – ‘Stop your troops from an offensive to Ukraine, give peace a chance’ – because too many people have already died.

“President Putin, in the name of humanity; bring your troops back to Russia.

“In the name of humanity, do not allow to start in Europe what could be the worst war since the beginning of the century,” Guterres added.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Ukraine Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba confirmed that Russia had launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

“Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes,” said Kuleba.

“This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win.

“The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.”

Putin has sent a chilling warning, noting that the western world will face “consequences never encountered in your history” should it try to intervene.

Irish citizens in Ukraine have been urged to shelter in a secure place following reports that Russia has launched a “full-scale invasion” of the country.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has “utterly” condemned Russia for what he called “a shocking murderous act of aggression”.

“Russia has launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. God help them,” he said on Twitter.

“Rocket attacks and explosions across the country. Make no mistake: this is a shocking murderous act of aggression against a sovereign peaceful state.

“EU and the world needs to respond strongly,” Coveney added.

During an emotional interview on RTÉ Morning Ireland on Thursday, Ukraine Ambassador to Ireland Larysa Gerasko called on the international community to take action against Russia.

Gerasko fought back the tears as she said her thoughts are with Ukraine and her family living in the country.

“I’m so emotional. I’m really shocked. My parents live 150km from the northern border of Ukraine… My brother and his family live in Kiyv,” she told the programme.

Stating that her family are currently safe, she said that it is hard to believe that such an invasion is happening in the 21st century.

“As far as I understand, Putin is testing the UN and the security architecture of the whole world and the international community and international order,” Gerasko added.

“All the international community has to be very vocal and very strong now.

“There are steps that the international community must do immediately in order to stop Russia.”

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