UN chief denounces 'devastation' of Ukraine invasion in front of Lavrov

The UN secretary-general on Monday denounced the "devastation" caused by Moscow's invasion of Ukraine during a Security Council meeting chaired by Russia's foreign minister.

Antonio Guterres said in front of Sergei Lavrov that the Russian invasion was a violation of international law and is "causing massive suffering" to the Ukrainian people.

He added it was "adding to the global economic dislocation triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic".

Lavrov was chairing a meeting on "effective multilateralism" through the defence of the principles of the United Nations charter.

"The multilateral system is under greater strain than at any time since the creation of the United Nations," said Guterres, adding the world faces "unprecedented and interlocking crises."

"Tensions between major powers are at an historic high. So are the risks of conflict, through misadventure or miscalculation," added the UN chief, sitting next to Lavrov.

Russia holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council in April and organised the meeting as one of its "signature" events of its tenure.

In a note to member states laying out the meeting, Russia denounced the "unipolar world order" that took effect after the end of the Cold War.

It said that "presented a serious challenge to the efficiency and stability of the United Nations system."

"Today the world is facing another deep-reaching systemic transformation. Namely, natural and rapid decline of unipolar world order and the emergence of a new multipolar system," the note said.

The European Union's ambassador to the UN, Olof Skoog, slammed Russia's intentions as "cynical."

"By organizing this debate Russia is trying to portray itself as a defender of the UN Charter and multilateralism. Nothing can be further from the truth," he told reporters.

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