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UN chief believes Ukraine-Russia war 'will go on'

UNITED NATIONS, December 20 ------ UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was pessimistic that Russia's war in Ukraine would end soon but he hoped it would be over by the end of next year.

"I am not optimistic about the possibility of effective peace talks in the immediate future," he told reporters during his annual end-of-year press conference in New York. It is ten months since Russia invaded its neighbor in late February.

Russia recently launched a swarm of attack drones at critical infrastructure in Kyiv as the war showed no signs of relenting. "I do believe that the military confrontation will go on," the United Nations Secretary-General said at the world body's headquarters. "I think we will have still to wait for a moment in which serious negotiations for peace will be possible. I don't see them in the immediate horizon," he added.

Last month, a top Ukrainian official said any discussions not based on Ukraine's internationally recognized borders are "not acceptable." Guterres said he "strongly" hoped that peace could be reached in 2023. He cited "the consequences" for Ukraine's people, Russian society, and the global economy, which is battling high food and energy prices as a result of the war if a deal is not found. "All these are reasons for us to do everything possible to make a peace solution happen before the end of 2023," Guterres said.

Over the course of an hour, Guterres answered questions on a host of subjects, including peace in the Middle East, North Korean missiles, and the dire situation in Mali. He described the Iranian regime's crackdown on women-led protests as "totally unacceptable." "We are witnessing massive violations of human rights that we strongly condemn," Guterres said.



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