This is the saddest moment in my tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations. I started this meeting of the Security Council addressing President Putin and telling him from the bottom of my heart: Stop your troops from an offensive against Ukraine, give peace a chance because too many people have died.
During the meeting President Putin announced a ‘special military operation’ in the Donbas and required the Ukrainian troops to lay down their arms. So, in the present circumstances I must change my appeal.
I must say, President Putin: In the name of humanity bring your troops back to Russia. In the name of humanity do not allow to start in Europe what could be the worst war since the beginning of the century, with consequences not only devastating for Ukraine, not only tragic for the Russian Federation, but with an impact we cannot even foresee in relation to the consequences for the global economy in a moment when we are emerging from the COVID [pandemic] and so many developing countries absolutely need to have space for the recovery which would be very, very difficult, with the high prices of oil, with the end of exports of wheat from Ukraine, and with the rising interest rates caused by instability in international markets.
This conflict must stop - now. Thank you very much.