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Informing the Security Council that, so far, nearly 500 civilians have been evacuated from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol and the Azovstal plant, the United Nations' Secretary-General, António Guterres, said that "it is good to know that even in these times of hyper-communications, silent diplomacy is still possible and is sometimes the only effective way to produce results."

The UN chief, who visited Russia and Ukraine last week and was involved in the negotiations, said on Thursday (5 May) that he hopes that "the continued coordination with Moscow and Kyiv will lead to more humanitarian pauses to allow civilians safe passage from the fighting and aid to reach those in critical need."

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"We must continue to do all we can to get people out of these hellscapes," said Guterres.

Describing the war on Ukraine as "senseless in its scope, ruthless in its dimensions and limitless in its potential for global harm", the Secretary-General said, "the cycle of death, destruction, dislocation and disruption must stop."

For Guterres, "it is high time to unite and end this war. "

Addressing the Council, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, said "the destruction of civilian infrastructure has come to characterize this conflict", with apartment buildings, schools and hospitals in populated areas attacked.

According to Griffiths, over 13 million Ukrainians have now been forced to flee their homes, of whom 7.7 million are internally displaced.

"Lives uprooted, ripped apart. Never the same again," said the humanitarian chief.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, informed that her Office will present a report on the human rights situation in Ukraine covering the period from 24 February to 15 May at the next session of the Council in June.

Bachelet said that "the Mission continues to verify allegations of violations of international human rights law and of international humanitarian law" and that "many of these allegations concern violations that may amount to war crimes."

According to the High Comissioner, "the list of gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law continues to grow each day."

She said, "We cannot let the number of victims continue to rise. A one-day ceasefire alone would spare the lives of at least 50 civilian children, women and men, including many older persons."

The same 24 hours would prevent between 30 and 70 civilians from being injured, and a dozen from becoming disabled.

Speaking for the Russian Federation, Permanent Representative Vasily Nebenzia said the conflict "is not a war in Ukraine".

According to the ambassador, it is "a proxy war by the collective west against the Russian Federation", as if those countries "were eagerly awaiting this moment to unleash repression against Russia."

Nebenzia also addressed all the sanctions against his country, saying they constitute "world war" being "waged at the economic level."

"We have noted now that you had been preparing for this because the speed in which this was unleashed leaves us with no doubt that you were preparing for this for a long time, long before all of this transpired," said the Permanent Representative.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the Permanent Representative from the United States, the country who holds the Presidency of the Council in May, said the international community "must hold those in Russia who unleashed, perpetrated, and ordered the war crimes committed in Ukraine to account."

The ambassador also said the United States supports a range of international investigations into the atrocities in Ukraine, including efforts by the International Criminal Court, the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and others.

The Ukrainian Permanent Representative, Sergiy Kyslytsya, said that "Russia struggles to advance and suffers terrible losses" and that "is the reason they resort to this desperate missile terror across Ukraine."

"They want to break us down, but the only thing that will break down in the end is Russia, and its capacity to invade, bomb, murder, loot and rape," Kyslytsya said.