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A Ukrainian emergency worker assist a woman injured by Russian airstrikes

A fireman helps injured civilians after several explosions rocked the Shevchenkivskyi district of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on October 10, 2022. (Photo: Ukrainian State Emergency Service/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

UN Chief Decries 'Unacceptable Escalation of the War' in Ukraine

A spokesperson said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is "deeply shocked by today's large-scale missile attacks by the armed forces of the Russian Federation."

Jake Johnson

The head of the United Nations on Monday condemned the "unacceptable escalation of the war" in Ukraine after Russia bombed Kyiv and other major cities, a far-reaching attack that Russian President Vladimir Putin said was launched in retaliation for a deadly blast that damaged a bridge to Crimea over the weekend.

"As always, civilians are paying the highest price."

"The secretary-general is deeply shocked by today's large-scale missile attacks by the armed forces of the Russian Federation on cities across Ukraine that reportedly resulted in widespread damage to civilian areas and led to dozens of people being killed and injured," said a spokesperson for António Guterres, the U.N. chief.

"As always," the spokesperson added, "civilians are paying the highest price."

According to Ukrainian authorities, at least 11 people were killed, dozens were injured, and many were left without power as a result of Russia's latest wave of airstrikes, the most intense bombing in months as Ukraine continues to recapture swaths of territory.

During a meeting of his security council on Monday, Putin insisted that the targets of the massive attack were military-related—a message echoed by Russia's defense ministry. But press reports and video footage posted online indicate that Russia's missile strikes inflicted significant damage on civilian areas, including a popular park in Kyiv.

"Though some missiles apparently targeted energy facilities, others struck civilian areas during the morning rush hour. One hit a playground in downtown Kyiv and another struck a central building of a local university," the Associated Press reported. "Witnesses said one missile landed in front of a bus."

Analysts and peace advocates argued Monday that the war's intensification in recent days and the complete absence of diplomatic negotiations are deeply alarming and heighten the prospects of a nuclear disaster.

"There are no winners in this situation," Lindsey German of the United Kingdom-based Stop the War Coalition said in a statement. "Stop the War has called for a cease-fire and peace negotiations from the start because we feared precisely this danger. We urgently need this war to stop before it spirals even further."

"We are especially concerned about the potential of this turning into a nuclear conflict, with horrific consequences for the whole region," German added. "The British government should be urging peace not war."

U.S. President Joe Biden, who has authorized billions of dollars in weapons and other military aid to Ukraine despite repeated warnings that such shipments are worsening the conflict, said in a statement that "the United States strongly condemns Russia's missile strikes today across Ukraine, including in Kyiv."

"These attacks killed and injured civilians and destroyed targets with no military purpose," said Biden. "These attacks only further reinforce our commitment to stand with the people of Ukraine for as long as it takes."

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