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UN chief assails Russia’s war in Ukraine for ‘unleashing nexus of horror’

78th unga general debate at un hq in new york
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday assailed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a violation of the U.N. Charter, telling the annual UNGA gathering of world leaders that the war “has unleashed a nexus of horror.”

THE TAKE

First to speak at the 193-member General Assembly, Guterres focused on the geopolitical tensions largely fueled by the war in Ukraine, well into its second year.

CONTEXT

Three years after leaders were forced to send video messages to the week-long meeting during the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 140 heads of state and government and dozens of ministers were due to turn up in person.

KEY QUOTES

* “Our world is becoming unhinged. Geopolitical tensions are rising. Global challenges are mounting. And we seem incapable of coming together to respond.”

* “If every country fulfilled its obligations under the (U.N.) Charter, the right to peace would be guaranteed. When countries break those pledges, they create a world of insecurity for everyone. Exhibit A: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The war, in violation of the United Nations Charter and international law, has unleashed a nexus of horror: lives destroyed; human rights abused; families torn apart; children traumatized; hopes and dreams shattered.”

* “Beyond Ukraine, the war has serious implications for us all. Nuclear threats put us all at risk.”

* “Our humanitarian operations are being forced to make massive cuts. But if we don’t feed the hungry, we are feeding conflict.”

* “G20 countries are responsible for 80% of greenhouse emissions. They must lead. They must break their addiction to fossil fuels and heed the International Energy Agency’s findings that new oil and gas licensing by them is incompatible with keeping the 1.5 degree limit alive.”

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