Ukraine marks six months of ‘senseless war’

The “sad and tragic milestone” of the war in Ukraine coincided with the embattled country’s 31st anniversary of independence, and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres congratulated the country’s people.

“The people of Ukraine and beyond need peace and they need peace now,” he said. “Peace in line with the UN Charter. Peace in line with international law.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy participated in the meeting via videoconference, though the feed was at times unclear. He remarked that the world is dependent on his country’s independence.

Progress on grain deal

In the period since Russia’s invasion on 24 February, thousands of civilians have been killed or injured, humanitarian needs have skyrocketed, and numerous human rights abuses and violations have been reported. Millions worldwide also continue to face a global food, fertilizer and fuel crisis, a ripple effect of the war.

The Secretary-General provided an update on his visit to Ukraine last week to follow up on the landmark agreement to bring grain from the country back into global markets.

“I can report to the Council that the Black Sea Grain Initiative, signed in Istanbul in July, is progressing well — with dozens of ships sailing in and out of Ukrainian ports, loaded so far with over 720,000 metric tons of grains and other food products,” he told ambassadors.

The Initiative — signed by Ukraine, Russia, Türkiye and the UN — represents “a powerful demonstration of what can be achieved, in even the most devastating of contexts, when we put people first,” he added though pointing to the work still ahead.

“The other part of this package deal is the unimpeded access to global markets of Russian food and fertilizers, which are not subject to sanctions. It is critical that all governments and the private sector cooperate to bring them to market.”

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