The Secretary-General of the United Nations expressed great dismay this Sunday at the attack on a school where apparently many people sought refuge of the ongoing fighting in Bilohorivka, in the Ukrainian region of Luhansk, in the east of the country.
The attack occurred on Saturday May 7 and, according to press releases, up to 60 people could have died.
“This attack is another reminder that in this war, as in so many other conflicts, it is the civilians who pay the highest priceAntónio Guterres said in a statement from his spokesman.
Guterres reiterated that the civilian population and infrastructure must always be safe in times of war.
“This war must end and peace must be established in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law,” he said.
He added that the UN and its humanitarian partners in Ukraine will continue to support those whose lives have been shattered by war.
UNICEF condemns the attack
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) added its voice to that of the Secretary-General in denouncing the attack on the school.
“UNICEF strongly condemns this new aggression”, pointed out the executive director of the agency, Catherine Russell, highlighting that many civilians, including numerous children, took refuge in the bunker of the educational compound.
Russell pointed out that still they do not know how many children could have died or being injured by “the alleged bombing”, but added that they fear that several of them have joined the hundreds of minors who have lost their lives in this war.
The agency for children stressed that schools should never be attacked nor used for military purposes, emphasizing that these attacks constitute a violation of international humanitarian law.
“This latest attack is yet another example of the blatant contempt for human life that you see in this war,” Russell stated.
More than 170 evacuated civilians arrive in Zaporizhzhia
In a second communication from the UN spokesman, the Secretary-General welcomed the evacuation of a group of more than 170 civilians from the Azovstal steel plant and other areas of the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol in a safe passage operation successfully coordinated by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
António Guterres reported that the evacuees they arrived safely in Zaporizhzhia this Sunday.
“My thoughts are with them and with all the people in Ukraine who are suffering in this war,” he said.
Likewise, Guterres thanked everyone involved in the complex operationincluding leaders in Kyiv and Moscow, for ensuring the necessary humanitarian pauses, and applauded the determination and courage of the UN and Red Cross teams on the ground.
“This latest safe passage operation raises more than 600 the number of civilians who have been evacuated safely from the Azovstal steel plant and other areas of Mariupol,” he detailed.
Those 600 people left Mariupol in the last ten days.
UN staff on the ground have stressed that there are still there are many people who want to be evacuatedso the work will continue.
In closing, Guterres urged the parties to the conflict to spare no effort to ensure safe passage to all those who wish to leave, in whatever direction they choose, and to ensure that aid reaches those in need.