Full transcript of UN Secretary-General’s press encounter in Kyiv, Ukraine




 Kyiv, 8 March 2023

Mr. President, I want to thank you and the Ukrainian people for welcoming me once again in such difficult circumstances. 

This is my third visit to Ukraine in less than a year.   

My third visit to show our full commitment and to seek solutions.  

The position of the United Nations, which I have consistently expressed, is crystal clear: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a violation of the UN Charter and international law.   

The sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine must be upheld, within its internationally recognized borders.

Our ultimate objective is equally clear: a just peace based on the UN Charter, international law and the recent General Assembly resolution marking one year since the start of the war.

Until that just peace can be secured, we continue working hard to mitigate the impacts of the conflict which has caused enormous suffering for the Ukrainian people – with profound global implications. 

The United Nations has stayed on the ground delivering desperately needed humanitarian aid to millions here in Ukraine.  

I want to express my deep solidarity with all the victims of the war.  

To those who have lost their lives and to their loved ones.   

To those who have seen their hopes dashed or had to flee in search of survival.  

They are all owed effective accountability. 

The United Nations also worked to help evacuate civilians trapped in the Azovstal steel plant. 

The International Atomic Energy Agency has been fully mobilized to try and preserve the safety and security of nuclear power plants in Ukraine, including in Zaporizhzhia. 

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, agreed last July in Istanbul, has provided for the export of 23 million tons of grain from Ukrainian ports..  

It contributed to lowering the global cost of food and has offered critical relief to people, who are also paying a high price for this war, particularly in the developing world.

Indeed, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index has fallen by almost 20 percent over the last year.

Exports of Ukrainian — as well as Russian — food and fertilizers are essential to global food security and food prices.

I want to underscore the critical importance of the rollover of the Black Sea Grain Initiative on 18 March and of working to create the conditions to enable the greatest possible use of export infrastructures through the Black Sea, in line with the objectives of the initiative.

Safety and security around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is also vital.  

I believe that a possible mediation to seek the full demilitarization of the area, while ensuring that the plant can return to normal operations, would also be important.  

The United Nations stands ready to offer its good offices.  

At the same time, we will continue to support solutions for humanitarian problems wherever possible on every front such as a meaningful expansion of the current exchange of prisoners of war until it is completed.

The recent shocking images of a Ukrainian soldier apparently being summarily killed is yet another tragic reminder that the laws of war must be strictly respected.

We must pursue all of these objectives, recognizing that each one of them has value in itself.

Mr. President, thank you once again for your welcome. 

I can assure you that we will continue to seek solutions and a just peace for the people of Ukraine and the world. 

Thank you.