War in Ukraine: UN chief condemns school attack, welcomes arrival of Mariupol evacuees

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“This attack is yet another reminder that in this war, as in so many other conflicts, it is civilians who pay the highest price,” UN chief spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. in a statement on behalf of António Guterres.

Charter of the United Nations

Mr. Guterres recalled that “civilians and civilian infrastructure must always be spared in times of war”.

He reiterated his call to end the war and restore peace in accordance with the UN Charter and international law.

The United Nations and its humanitarian partners in Ukraine will continue to support those whose lives have been shattered by war.

On Sunday, the UN evacuated more than 170 people from Azovstal and Mariupol on the basis of the evacuation agreement it is leading in partnership with the Red Cross organization. So far, more than 600 civilians have left the site.

Guterres said the UN will continue to support Ukrainians with humanitarian actions.

“Schools can never be a target of war”

Earlier, the United Nations Children’s Fund strongly condemned the new attack on the school in Luhansk, Ukraine.

The UNICEF Director affirmed that “schools can never be a target of war”.

Catherine Russell said it was not yet possible to know how many children had been killed in the bombing, but she feared the attack could add to the hundreds of minors who had lost their lives since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Evacuation of civilians

In a separate statement, the Secretary-General on Sunday welcomed the arrival of a new group of more than 170 civilians who were evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant and other areas of Mariupol as part of a safe passage operation successfully coordinated by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“This group of evacuees arrived safe and sound in Zaporizhia today, 8 May. My thoughts go out to them and to all the people in Ukraine who are suffering from this war,” Guterres said.

The UN chief thanked “all those who participated in this complex operation, in particular the leaders of kyiv and Moscow who ensured the necessary humanitarian pauses” and praised “the determination and courage of the UN teams and of the ICRC in the field”.

This latest safe passage operation brings to over 600 the number of civilians who have been safely evacuated from the Azovstal Steel Plant and other areas of Mariupol.

“I urge the parties to the conflict to spare no effort to ensure safe passage for all those who wish to leave, in the direction of their choice, and to ensure that aid reaches those in need”, concluded Mr. Guterres.

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