UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine is “unacceptable but it is not irreversible.”
Speaking to reporters at UN headquarters, Guterres reiterated that the military operation conflicts directly with the UN Charter.
“The charter is clear and I quote, ‘all members shall refrain in their international relations from the threats or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations,’” said Guterres.
“The use of force by one country against another is repudiation of the principles that every country is committed to uphold. And this applies to the present military offensives,” he said.
The UN chief also repeated his direct appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying “stop the military operation. Bring the troops back to Russia”.
Putin announced a military intervention in Ukraine days after recognizing two breakaway enclaves of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine, drawing international condemnation and vows of tougher sanctions on Moscow.
Explosions were reported in several Ukrainian cities, including the capital, Kyiv, and tanks reportedly crossed the border from Belarus into Ukraine.
In recent weeks, US officials accused Russia of amassing more than 150,000 troops around Ukraine to launch a military attack but Moscow repeatedly denied any intent to launch an invasion.