‘Save your way to security’ during a four-day humanitarian truce in Holy Week — Global Issues

In five days, Ukrainians and Russians will celebrate Easter, a holiday that coincides with Orthodox Christians in both Russia and Ukraine, as well as Catholic Ukrainians.

“Easter is a season of renewal, resurrection and hope. It is a time of reflection on the meaning of suffering, sacrifice, death – and rebirth. It’s meant to be a moment of unity,” Secretary-General António Guterres told journalist, speaking in front of the bronze statue of nonviolence at UN headquarters in New York.

Rather than a celebration of new life, this Easter coincides with a Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine

Concentrated shelling

An intense concentration of forces and firepower continues to make the battle more violent, bloody and destructive, lamented the top UN official.

In addition, the attack and the horrific toll seen so far on civilians could pale in comparison to the horror that lies ahead.

“This should not happen. Hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake,” he stressed.

Break during Holy Week

Against the background of many failed “good faith attempts” by numerous parties to achieve a ceasefire in Ukraine, the secretary general called for a four-day humanitarian pause in Holy Week, beginning on Maundy Thursday and through Easter Sunday, April 24, to allow for the opening of a series of humanitarian corridors.

He explained that a humanitarian break would create the necessary conditions to meet two crucial requirements, starting with the safe passage of all civilians willing to leave the areas of the current and expected confrontation

This would be done in consultation with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Second, in addition to the humanitarian operations already underway, a pause would allow the safe delivery of life-saving humanitarian aid to people in the hardest hit areas such as Mariupol, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk.

“The United Nations is ready to send humanitarian aid convoys to these locations during this time,” he assured. “We are presenting detailed plans to the parties.”

Big needs

The UN chief painted a heartbreaking picture of people without food, water, supplies to treat the sick and injured, or simply to live from day to day.

More than 12 million people need humanitarian aid in Ukraine today”, he said, with more than a third in Mariupol, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk.

“We expect this number to rise to 15.7 million – that is about 40 percent of all Ukrainians still in the country.”

‘Reasons of life or death’

There is “a degree of progress to build on,” the UN chief said, noting that about 2.5 million people have received aid in the past seven weeks, including many in the east.

“For all these reasons of life or death, I call on the Russians and Ukrainians to silence their weapons and open a path to safety for so many in immediate danger‘ he appealed.

“The four-day Easter period should be a time to come together around saving lives and fostering dialogue to end suffering in Ukraine.”

keep the faith

Mr Guterres explained that earlier in the day, emergency coordinator Martin Griffiths briefed the Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations, which included Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Jewish leaders.

The Secretary-General welcomed their support and “inspired by Holy Week and all it represents”, urged all parties and all champions of peace around the world to join his Easter appeal.

“Save lives. Stop the bloodshed and destruction. Open a window for dialogue and peace. Stay true to the meaning and message of Easter‘, he decided.

video player

Leave a Comment