Thousands of civilians have been killed since Russia launched war on Ukraine in February - Copyright AFP BULENT KILICUN chief Antonio Guterres said Monday he was pessimistic that Russia’s war in Ukraine would end soon but he hoped it would be over by the end of next year.
“I am not optimistic about the possibility of effective peace talks in the immediate future,” he told reporters during his annual end-of-year press conference in New York.
It is ten months since Russia invaded its neighbor in late February.
On Monday, Russia launched a swarm of attack drones at critical infrastructure in Kyiv as the war showed no signs of relenting.
“I do believe that the military confrontation will go on,” the United Nations secretary-general said at the world body’s headquarters.
“I think we will have still to wait (for) a moment in which serious negotiations for peace will be possible. I don’t see them in the immediate horizon,” he added.
After several rounds of peace talks between delegations early in the conflict, negotiations quickly stalled.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivers remarks during his end-of-year press conference at the UN in New York City on December 19, 2022 – Copyright NASA/AFP –
Ukraine has said Russia would need to completely remove its forces for talks to take place.
Last month, a top Ukrainian official said any discussions not based on Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders are “not acceptable.”
Guterres said he “strongly” hoped that peace could be reached in 2023.
He cited “the consequences” for Ukraine’s people, Russian society and the global economy, which is battling high food and energy prices as a result of the war, if a deal is not found.
“All these are reasons for us to do everything possible to make a peace solution happen before the end of 2023,” Guterres said.
Over the course of an hour, Guterres answered questions on a host of subjects, including on peace in the Middle East, North Korean missiles and the dire situation in Mali.
He described the Iranian regime’s crackdown of women-led protests as “totally unacceptable.”
“We are witnessing massive violations of human rights that we strongly condemn,” Guterres said.