UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for a four-day humanitarian pause in fighting in Ukraine to allow for the opening of humanitarian aid corridors during the Orthodox Christian Holy Week.
"Today, I am calling for a four-day Holy Week humanitarian pause beginning on Holy Thursday and running through Easter Sunday, April 24th to allow for the opening of a series of humanitarian corridors," Guterres told reporters while standing in front of the "Knotted Gun," or "Non Violence," an iconic sculpture of a large gun, the barrel of which is tied in a knot.
The sculpture is the first thing that many visitors to UN headquarters in New York see as they enter the compound and symbolises the world body's commitment to world peace, Xinhua news agency reported.
Due to the intensifying Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine as Easter approaches, the UN chief said a humanitarian pause is all the more important.
During the proposed pause, Guterres stated, civilians would be evacuated from "current or expected areas of confrontation" and humanitarian aid would be delivered to desperately in needy places such as Mariupol, Donetsk, Lugansk, and Kherson.
The top UN official said that more than 4 million people in those areas need assistance.
"The four-day Easter period should be a moment to unite around saving lives and furthering dialogue to end the suffering in Ukraine," Guterres said.
A day earlier, UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths suggested that the time might be right for a ceasefire as the Orthodox Easter holiday approaches.