Guterres told an emergency session of the 193-member General Assembly on Ukraine that the idea of a nuclear conflict was ‘simply inconceivable,’ amid global rage over Russia’s invasion.
Putin had put Russia’s nuclear deterrent on high alert on Sunday, a development Guterres described as a “chilling development.”
Addressing the Assembly, Guterres said the fighting in Ukraine must stop, noting that the bombardment of cities such as the capital, Kyiv, had forced people to seek shelter, including in subway stations.
Roughly half a million Ukrainians have also crossed the country’s borders.
Guterres said although Russian strikes were reportedly largely targeting Ukrainian military facilities, “we have credible accounts of residential buildings, critical civilian infrastructure and other non-military targets sustaining heavy damage.
“Enough is enough. Soldiers need to move back to their barracks. Leaders need to move to peace. Civilians must be protected. International humanitarian and human rights law must be upheld.
“The world is facing what is a tragedy for Ukraine, but also a major regional crisis with potentially disastrous implications for all.”
“Yesterday, Russian nuclear forces were put on high alert. This is a chilling development. The mere idea of a nuclear conflict is simply inconceivable. Nothing can justify the use of nuclear weapons,” Guterres said.
Earlier on Sunday, the Security Council voted to call for a rare emergency special session of the 193-member UN General Assembly on Russia’s military operation in Ukraine for Monday.