UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday, announced 20 million dollars for humanitarian support in Ukraine, saying protecting of civilians must be ‘Priority Number One’ in supporting the people.

“Today, I am announcing that we will immediately allocate 20 million dollars from the Central Emergency Response Fund to meet urgent needs,’’ Guterres told journalist in New York.

He reiterated that the UN and its humanitarian partners are “committed to staying and delivering, to support people in Ukraine in their time of need”.

According to him, UN staff are working on “both sides of the contact line,” providing lifesaving humanitarian relief to people in need, “regardless of who or where they are”.

He emphasised that protection of civilians must be priority number one in delivering the humanitarian assistance.

Russian military operations inside the sovereign territory of Ukraine “on a scale that Europe has not seen in decades, conflict directly with the United Nations Charter,” he said.

In spite of a sustained UN-led and international diplomatic push to avert military action in Ukraine, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin did just that – triggering a barrage of reactions, beginning with the UN chief, condemning the move and appealing for peace.

“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat 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,” he said, quoting the Charter.

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He underscored that the use of force by one country against another is “the repudiation of the principles that every country has committed to uphold”, which he stated, applies to the present military offensive.

“It is wrong. It is against the Charter. It is unacceptable. But it is not irreversible,” the UN chief said.

As deaths rise, and images of fear, anguish and terror in every corner of Ukraine are pervasive, the top UN official reminded that “people – everyday innocent people – always pay the highest price”.

“This is why the UN is scaling up its humanitarian operations in and around Ukraine,’’ he said.

The UN chief restated that international humanitarian and human rights law must be upheld, nothing that the decisions of the coming days “will shape our world and directly affect the lives of millions upon millions of people”.

“In line with the Charter, it’s not too late to save this generation from the scourge of war,” the secretary-general said, “we need peace”.

The UN Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 15-member body met on Wednesday night in the second emergency Security Council meeting on Ukraine in three days.

Guterres described what happened the “saddest moment” in his tenure as UN Secretary-General.

In light of this development, the UN chief said: “I must change my address and say: In the name of humanity bring your troops back to Russia.

“In the name of humanity do not start in what may be the most devastating war since the start of the century,” he appealed to Putin.

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