"We are seeing Russian military operations inside the sovereign territory of Ukraine on a scale that Europe has not seen in decades.
Day after day, I have been clear that such unilateral measures conflict directly with the United Nations Charter.
The Charter is clear: “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
The use of force by one country against another is the repudiation of the principles that every country has committed to uphold.
This applies to the present military offensive.
It is wrong.
It is against the Charter.
It is unacceptable.
But it is not irreversible.
I repeat my appeal from last night to President Putin:
Stop the military operation.
Bring the troops back to Russia.
We know the toll of war.
With deaths rising, we are seeing images of fear, anguish and terror in every corner of Ukraine.
People – everyday innocent people – always pay the highest price.
That is why the United Nations is scaling up our humanitarian operations in and around Ukraine.
Today I am announcing that we will immediately allocate $20 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund to meet urgent needs.
We and our humanitarian partners are committed to staying and delivering, to support people in Ukraine in their time of need.
United Nations staff are working on both sides of the contact line, always guided by the humanitarian principles of neutrality, impartiality, humanity and independence.
We are providing lifesaving humanitarian relief to people in need, regardless of who or where they are.
The protection of civilians must be priority number one.
International humanitarian and human rights law must be upheld.
The decisions of the coming days will shape our world and directly affect the lives of millions upon millions of people.
In line with the Charter, it’s not too late to save this generation from the scourge of war.
We need peace.
António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations
New York, 24 February 2022