UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed concern about the possibility of Russia’s war in Ukraine on Monday during a visit to the Moldovan capital.
“The impact of the war in Ukraine on the whole region and in the world is profound and far-reaching; the consequences of the escalation are too frightening to contemplate,” Guterres said during a joint news conference with Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita in Chisinau.
“I am deeply concerned about the continuation and possible spread of the war Russia is waging in Ukraine, and its implications not only in the region but around the world,” the UN chief said.
Russia’s invasion has disrupted wheat, corn, sunflower oil and fertilizer exports from the Black Sea region, as well as raised fuel prices globally.
Guterres is in Moldova on a two-day visit to express international support for Ukraine’s western neighbor, which has seen nearly half a million refugees enter the country, and 90,000 Moldovans live in homes.
“Moldova is a small country with a big heart,” he said, noting that its resources are limited.
There is also international concern that Moldova could be a potential second front in Russia’s war on Ukraine through the Kremlin-backed breakaway region of Transnistria.
“Moldova is on the front lines of protection” [of] Peace and stability in the world,” Guterres said.
Asked about Transnistria, he said he hoped that actors on both sides would have a clear sense of responsibility and would prevent any threats to the nation.
“Your sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and the concrete progress you have made over the past three decades should not be jeopardized or undermined,” Guterres said.
The UN Secretary-General stated that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “must be stopped, the guns must be silenced, and I call on Russia and Ukraine to seek diplomatic efforts to urgently achieve a negotiated settlement consistent with international law and the United Nations Charter.” I urge you to move forward.”
Prime Minister Gavrilita, in response to journalists’ questions about a possible military mobilization, said the government believed there was “less risk of escalation of military action” in Moldova and dismissed rumors of a mobilization.
“As of now, we have no reason to be concerned and resort to such actions,” said Gavrilita, adding that if his assessment changes, he will communicate it through official channels.
Gavrilita stepped in on Monday for meetings with Guterres, confirming that President Maia Sandu had to cancel due to “health reasons”.
Guterres will meet with the speaker of Moldova’s parliament Igor Grosu on Tuesday and then visit a center for refugees.