As Russia continues its assault on Ukraine, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that the conflict could escalate to nuclear warfare.
"The prospect of a nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now among the possibilities," he added outside the Security Council Chambers in New York on Monday.
Guterres called for negotiations, stressing the civilian suffering that Russian forces have inflicted: "It’s time to stop the horror unleashed on the people of Ukraine and get on the path of diplomacy and peace," he said. "The appeals for peace must be heard. This tragedy must stop."
- Russia admits that Ukraine invasion is not going exactly to plan
- EU to hit Russia with fourth set of sanctions
- Russia has lost access to almost half of its foreign reserves, Finance Minister says
The UN blamed Russia for the destruction, citing the "utter devastation" Ukrainian cities are facing at the hands of Russian bombardments. Announcing the release of $40 million in UN emergency funds, Guterres confirmed that the UN and humanitarian partners are working to ensure safe passage from embattled areas in Ukraine.
However, Guterres resisted calls for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, fearing it could escalate the crisis. Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy previously called for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, yet NATO rejected his pleas out of fears of creating a global conflict. If Ukraine were a member of NATO, the alliance would be bound to step in.