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UN chief urges diplomacy to ease Russia-Ukraine tensions

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres talked to the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine on Monday, expressing “deep concern” about the escalating tensions between the two nations.

According to spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, Guterres reminded Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov and Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba over the phone that diplomacy was the only way ahead. “The secretary-general expressed his significant worry to both foreign ministers about the heightened tensions around Ukraine,” Dujarric told reporters.

The UN Secretary-General was scheduled to meet with 15 UN Security Council ambassadors for a monthly lunch on Monday at Russia’s diplomatic mission, which presently holds the rotating presidency of the council.

“There are no preparations for UN workers to be evacuated or relocated” from Ukraine, according to Dujarric. In Ukraine, the UN employs 1,660 people, including 1,440 Ukrainians and 220 foreigners.

The Security Council will convene on Thursday to discuss Ukraine and the Minsk accords, which aimed to end the conflict in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas area.

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