UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres considers Russia’s decision to recognize Ukraine’s breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk a violation of the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement Monday.

Guterres also said the decision is inconsistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

“The Secretary-General is greatly concerned by the decision,” said Dujarric, adding the UN chief calls for the peaceful settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine in accordance with the Minsk Agreements as endorsed by the Security Council in resolution 2202 (2015).

“The United Nations, in line with the relevant General Assembly resolutions, remains fully supportive of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine, within its internationally recognized borders,” said the statement.

“The Secretary-General urges all relevant actors to focus their efforts on ensuring an immediate cessation of hostilities, protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure, preventing any actions and statements that may further escalate the dangerous situation in and around Ukraine and prioritizing diplomacy to address all issues peacefully,” it added.

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