Conflicts & War

UN chief says ‘fully support’ ICC probe into Russian war crimes in Ukraine

Bucha, Ukraine, Apr 28 (EFE).- United Nations chief Antonio Guterres Thursday urged Moscow to cooperate with the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) in probing possible war crimes during the Russian occupation of the Ukrainian city of Bucha.

“I fully support the ICC. I appeal to the Russian Federation to accept, to cooperate with the International Criminal Court” on investigations into the alleged war crimes, Guterres said during his visit to the Bucha mass grave.

He is in Ukraine to meet with President Volodimir Zelensky, following talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Guterres also visited the nearby town of Borodyanka, outside Kyiv, where the Russians killed civilians during their temporary occupation of the area.

Local military and civilian officials accompanied Gutteres and showed him the residential buildings destroyed by Russian attacks.

“When we talk about war crimes, we cannot forget that the worst of crimes is war itself,” said the UN chief.

“I imagine my family in one of those houses that are now destroyed and black. I see my granddaughters running away in panic. War is an absurdity in the 21st century. The war is evil. There is no way war can be acceptable in the 21st century.”

Guterres arrived in Kyiv on Wednesday on a mission of peace.

“We will continue our work to expand humanitarian support and secure the evacuation of civilians from conflict zones. The sooner this war ends, the better – for the sake of Ukraine, Russia, and the world,” he posted on his Twitter handle.

He traveled to Russia earlier, where he met Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in to find a way out of the conflict that has been dragging on for more than two months.

The UN chief will also meet with staff from UN agencies to discuss how to optimize humanitarian assistance to the war-battered people of Ukraine.

Guterres proposed the establishment of a humanitarian contact group – comprising Russia, Ukraine, and the UN – “to look for opportunities for the opening of safe corridors, with local cessations of hostilities, and to guarantee that they are actually effective.”

It is his first trip to the two countries since mid-February, when Russian troops entered eastern and northern Ukraine, sparking Europe’s largest refugee crisis in decades.

His spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said the UN chief and the Russian leaders discussed proposals for humanitarian assistance and evacuation of civilians from the besieged port city of Mariupol, where thousands of civilians and Ukrainian troops remain holed up in the Azovstal steel mill.

“President (Putin) agreed, in principle, to the involvement of the United Nations and the International Committee for the Red Cross in the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol,” said Dujarric.

Guterres told reporters that he had “a very frank discussion” with Lavrov, “and it is clear that there are two different positions on what is happening in Ukraine.” EFE


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