UNITED NATIONS: UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres told a meeting chaired by Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov today that Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine is “causing massive suffering and devastation to the country and its people” and fuelling “global economic dislocation triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic”.
“Tensions between major powers are at an historic high. So are the risks of conflict, through misadventure or miscalculation,” Guterres said during a UN Security Council meeting, while seated next to Lavrov at the horseshoe shaped table.
Lavrov chaired the meeting on multilateralism and the founding UN Charter because Russia holds the monthly rotating presidency of the 15-member body for April.
“As during the Cold War, we have reached the dangerous, possibly even more dangerous, threshold,” Lavrov told the council. “The situation is worsened with the loss of trust in multilateralism.”
As the United Nations seeks to save an agreement that allows the safe Black Sea export of Ukraine’s grain that could expire on May 18, Guterres also urged the continued implementation of that deal and a related pact in which the United Nations pledged to help facilitate Russia’s own grain and fertiliser exports.
“They clearly demonstrate that such cooperation is essential to creating greater security and prosperity for all,” he said.
US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield brought with her to the meeting Elizabeth Whelan, sister of Paul Whelan, an American convicted in Russia of espionage in 2020 and has been designated by Washington as wrongfully detained.
“The US has made a proposal for Paul’s release and we urge Russia to move on that proposal,” Thomas-Greenfield told reporters ahead of today’s meeting.