U.N. chief says time to end Russia's 'absurd war' in Ukraine

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UNITED NATIONS, March 22 (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged an end to the "absurd war" started by Russia's invasion of Ukraine one month ago, warning that the conflict is "going nowhere, fast" and that the Ukrainian people are "enduring a living hell."

"Continuing the war in Ukraine is morally unacceptable, politically indefensible and militarily nonsensical," Guterres told reporters in New York.

Russia is pounding the besieged Ukrainian port of Mariupol into the "ashes of a dead land," its local council said on Tuesday, describing two more huge bombs that fell on the city that has been sealed off for weeks. read more

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"Even if Mariupol falls, Ukraine cannot be conquered city by city, street by street, house by house," Guterres said. "This war is unwinnable. Sooner or later, it will have to move from the battlefield to the peace table."

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks to the media regarding Russia's invasion of Ukraine, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, U.S., March 14, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

"It is time to end this absurd war," he said.

Russia launched what it calls a "special military operation" on Feb. 24 to destroy Ukraine's military infrastructure. Ukraine and its Western allies have accused Moscow of attacking civilians indiscriminately. Moscow denies attacking civilians.

Guterres said some 10 million Ukranians have fled from their homes and warned the reverberations of war were being felt globally "with skyrocketing food, energy and fertilizer prices threatening to spiral into a global hunger crisis."

"There is enough on the table to cease hostilities - now ... and seriously negotiate - now," Guterres said.

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Reporting by Michelle Nichols and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis

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