UN Security Council, including Russia, expresses concern about Ukraine

UN chief Antonio Guterres says he would 'spare no effort to save lives, reduce suffering and find the path to peace'

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a Security Council meeting related to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. EPA

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The UN Security Council, including Russia, on Friday expressed “deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine” and backed efforts by the secretary general to find a peaceful solution in the body's first statement since Moscow's invasion.

Security Council statements are agreed upon by consensus. The brief text adopted on Friday was drafted by Norway and Mexico.

“The Security Council expresses deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine,” it reads.

“The Security Council recalls that all member states have undertaken, under the Charter of the United Nations, the obligation to settle their international disputes by peaceful means.

“The Security Council expresses strong support for the efforts of the secretary general in the search for a peaceful solution.”

The statement also asks UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to brief the council again “in due course”.

Mr Guterres welcomed the council's support on Friday, saying he would “spare no effort to save lives, reduce suffering and find the path of peace”.

The UN chief met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv last week.

His visits paved the way for joint UN and International Committee of the Red Cross operations that have removed about 500 civilians from Ukraine's port city of Mariupol and the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the past week.

The Security Council statement was agreed to despite a diplomatic tit-for-tat that has been escalating since Russia launched on February 24 what it calls a “special military operation” and what Mr Guterres blasted as an “absurd war”.

Russia vetoed a draft Security Council resolution on February 25 that would have deplored Moscow's invasion. China, the UAE and India abstained from the vote.

A council resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the US, Russia, China, France or the UK to pass.

The 193-member UN General Assembly, where no country has a veto, has since overwhelmingly adopted two resolutions, illustrating Russia's international isolation over Ukraine. Such resolutions are non-binding, but they carry political weight.

The General Assembly has deplored Russia's “aggression against Ukraine”, demanding both that Russian troops stop fighting and withdraw, and that there be access to provide and protection for civilians. It also criticised Russia for creating a “dire” humanitarian situation.

Updated: May 06, 2022, 8:34 PM