6 May 2022

Activities of Secretary-General in Ukraine with Stopovers in Poland, 26-29 April

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres departed Moscow with the intention of travelling to Ukraine.  He went first to Rzeszów, Poland, via Warsaw, on Tuesday, 26 April.

Upon his arrival in Rzeszów, the Secretary-General was received at the airport by the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda.  The Secretary-General expressed his deep appreciation and gratitude to the President for the generosity of the Polish people, for the manner in which they opened their homes and their hearts to almost 2 million Ukrainian refugees.  The Secretary-General also briefed the President on his meetings in Moscow and Ankara.

He then travelled from Rzeszów to Ukraine by road on Wednesday, arriving in Kyiv in the late afternoon.

On Thursday morning, 28 April, the Secretary-General visited three areas gravely affected by the war.

In the town of Borodianka, he expressed his sadness upon seeing the destroyed buildings there.  He added that “the war is an absurdity in the twenty-first century.  The war is evil.  And when one sees these situations, our heart, of course, stays with the victims.”

He then visited the Saint Andrew’s Church in Bucha, and he said after seeing the massacre site there, that it is important to have a thorough investigation and accountability.  He expressed his support for the work of the International Criminal Court and appealed to the Russian Federation to cooperate with that Court.

He also visited the destroyed Irpinsky Lipki residential complex in the town of Irpin and said that innocent civilians had been living in these buildings.  Wherever there is a war, he said, the highest price is paid by civilians.

In the afternoon he held a town hall meeting with United Nations staff working in Kyiv.

Later on Thursday afternoon, the Secretary-General and his delegation met with President Volodomyr Zelenskyy and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

At a joint press conference afterwards, the Secretary-General told the Ukrainian people that “the world sees you, hears you, and is in awe of your resilience and resolve”.  He added that words of solidarity are not enough, and that he is in Ukraine to zero in on needs on the ground and scale up operations.

He discussed the United Nations efforts to provide cash assistance to 2 million people by August and to expand food aid to reach 6 million people by June.

And he added that as we keep pushing for a full-scale ceasefire, we will also keep striving for immediate practical steps to save lives and reduce human suffering, including through effective humanitarian corridors, local cessation of hostilities and safe passage for civilian and supply routes.

The Secretary-General also met that day with Prime Minister Denys Shmygal.

While there, Kyiv was hit by two rockets.  In subsequent remarks to reporters, the Secretary-General said that he was shocked to learn of the rocket attack and added that showed once more that we need to end this war.

The Secretary-General left Kyiv early on Friday, 29 April, by road to Warsaw, Poland, and onwards to West Africa, where he would begin visits to Senegal, Niger and Nigeria.

For information media. Not an official record.