With a major humanitarian crisis unfolding, following a large-scale exodus of Ukraine citizens to neighbouring West countries, United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres has said that protecting civilians is the “priority number one” for the organisation. 

He informed the reporters that UN staff are working on “both sides of the contact line”, providing lifesaving humanitarian relief to people in need, “regardless of who or where they are”.  

“The protection of civilians must be priority number one,” Guterres stressed. 

The UN chief also announced release of 20 million dollars for humanitarian support to the war-hit people of Ukraine. 

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“Today, I am announcing that we will immediately allocate $20 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund to meet urgent needs,” the UN chief said. 

He reiterated that the UN and its humanitarian partners are “committed to staying and delivering, to support people in Ukraine in their time of need”. 

United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres further urged Russia to pull back its troops and respect the sovereignty of Ukraine. 

He underscored that the use of force by one country against another is “the repudiation of the principles that every country has committed to uphold”, which he stated, applies to the present military offensive. 

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“It is wrong. It is against the Charter. It is unacceptable. But it is not irreversible,” the UN chief said. 

“Stop the military operation. Bring the troops back to Russia,” the UN chief once again asked Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

As per latest reports, at least 137 people had been killed and 316 injured thus far on the Ukrainian side, after Russia launched a full-scale invasion on Ukraine by land, sea and air. 

The death toll includes both Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, according to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

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