UN chief warns of ‘wider war’ as conflict in Ukraine escalates | War news of Russia and Ukraine

Antonio Guterres says the prospect of ‘further escalation and bloodshed’ in the Russia-Ukraine war continues to grow.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned the world that it could be heading for a “wider war” as the danger of a further escalation of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine grows.

In a speech to the 193-member UN General Assembly on Monday, outlining his priorities for 2023, Guterres condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying the war was “inflicting untold suffering on the Ukrainian people with profound global implications”.

“The prospects for peace are diminishing,” he said. “The chances of further escalation and bloodshed are increasing.

“I fear that the world is sleepwalking into a wider war. I’m afraid he’s doing it with his eyes wide open.”

The nearly year-long conflict has intensified in recent weeks with fierce fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces for control of towns in eastern Ukraine.

Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Monday that the battle for Ukraine’s eastern region was “heating up” with Russian forces “injecting new units into the battle and destroying our towns and villages”.

Russia launched its all-out invasion of Ukraine on February 24 last year after Moscow built up troops near the Ukrainian border and Putin demanded an end to NATO expansion into the former Soviet republics.

Moscow’s military campaign has suffered numerous setbacks while Western powers provide financial and military support to Kiev.

Russian officials claim that sending weapons to Ukraine prolongs and intensifies the conflict.

While the United States and its allies have said they do not want a direct confrontation with Russia in Ukraine, US President Joe Biden has repeatedly warned Moscow against expanding the conflict, vowing to protect “every inch” of NATO territory.

In addition to the war in Ukraine, Guterres cited other threats to peace, from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Afghanistan, Myanmar, the Sahel and Haiti.

“If every country fulfilled its obligations to [UN] Charter, the right to peace would be guaranteed,” he said.

Guterres also sounded the alarm on Monday about the threats posed by climate change.

“I have a special message for fossil fuel producers and their enablers who are struggling to expand production and squeeze huge profits: If you can’t set a credible course for net zero with 2025 and 2030 targets covering all your operations, you shouldn’t be in business, Guterres said.

Net zero is a climate goal to reduce emissions that drive climate change to zero by reducing and offsetting them, using natural and technological methods to prevent them from entering the atmosphere.

“Your core product is our core problem,” Guterres told the fossil fuel industry. “We need a renewable energy revolution, not a self-destructive fossil fuel revival.”

Scientists warn that if the global community does not drastically reduce emissions, the climate crisis will likely have catastrophic consequences for life on the planet.

“We need to wake up – and start working,” Guterres said.

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