Russian forces have begun the battle for the Donbas, says Zelensky

An Interior Ministry commando collects unexploded ordnance in Hostomel, Ukraine, April 18.
An Interior Ministry commando collects unexploded ordnance in Hostomel, Ukraine, on April 18. (Efrem Lukatsky/AP)

According to Martin Griffiths, United Nations Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, a ceasefire in Ukraine could take place in the coming weeks depending on how the fighting and negotiations are going. how it continues.

“The fires… they’re not coming right now, but they might be in a few weeks. They can be a little bit longer than that,” Griffiths said in remarks Monday to reporters at UN headquarters in New York City.

Griffiths said he plans to travel to Turkey this weekend to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to determine ways in which the United Nations can help support peacekeeping and negotiations between Ukraine and Ukraine. Russia. He added that he was “really impressed” by Turkey’s role in the conflict, calling it “an important aspect” of the situation.

“We need to watch the negotiations very, very carefully, hence the trip to Turkey this week,” Griffiths said.

Griffiths said he also hopes that Turkey can organize a “humanitarian contact group” through which negotiations on humanitarian aid can be discussed. He said that Ukrainian officials have agreed to this and that he hopes Russian officials will too.

Griffiths added that Ukrainian officials have agreed to most of the UN’s proposals for humanitarian aid and a ceasefire, but Russia has yet to respond similarly.

“Clearly we still don’t have a humanitarian shutdown order. On the Russian side, I’ve looked into the matter in great detail and they continue to promise to get back to me with details of those proposals,” Griffiths said. “In Ukraine, it was a very welcome meeting with their leadership. They have already agreed to most of the proposals that we are making, we have yet to receive a similar response from the Russian Federation.”

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres accused Griffiths on March 28 of a meeting with officials from both Ukraine and Russia about agreements for a humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine.

Griffiths said he recently met with the prime minister of Ukraine, two deputy prime ministers, the defense minister of Ukraine and the deputy foreign minister for this reason. He had previously said that he had met Russian officials on April 4.

The purpose of the discussions with both sides was to ensure that the authorities were aware of the UN’s aspirations for humanitarian aid and to discuss ways in which the United Nations could improve the system. his humanitarian announcement, Griffiths said.

Griffiths said Ukrainian officials had agreed to the idea of ​​a joint humanitarian contact group and the idea of ​​a local ceasefire aimed at delivering humanitarian aid, but said the Russians “have not yet placed Local ceasefires are at the top of their agenda.”

“Humanitarianly, we need more willing acceptance, mainly by the Russian Federation, to allow convoys to enter and exit,” Griffiths said.

When asked if he believes Russia will implement a permanent ceasefire, Griffiths said he will continue to try to facilitate and mediate one side, despite the current lack of action. from the Russian side.

“Hope is the currency of the mediator,” Griffiths said. “In every war I’ve ever been involved in, you always start from a base of no hope because it looks horrible, the brutality is terrible… you keep doing it, because honestly that said, what are the alternatives? He added that “shouldn’t continue [negotiations]that would be irresponsible. ”

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