Ukraine evening briefing: Five developments as UN calls for Holy Week ceasefire

Good evening. UN chief Antonio Guterres on Tuesday proposed a four-day “humanitarian pause” in Ukraine to coincide with Orthodox Christians’ Holy Week.

Guterres added that the Easter period should be a moment to “unite around saving lives”. 

Elsewhere, the US President hosted a video conference with US allies including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday, in which leaders discussed efforts to hold Russia accountable. 

Here are the key developments from this afternoon – and you can follow all the latest updates on our live blog here

1. UN chief calls for Orthodox Holy Week ceasefire

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a four-day “humanitarian pause” in fighting in Ukraine, starting Thursday to coincide with Orthodox Christians’ Holy Week observances.

Guterres floated the proposal on Tuesday at UN headquarters, saying the ceasefire would allow for evacuating civilians from “areas of current or expected confrontation” and getting humanitarian aid into areas such as Mariupol, Donetsk, Luhansk and Kherson.

“The four-day Easter period should be a moment to unite around saving lives and furthering dialogue to end the suffering in Ukraine,” the UN chief said.

2. Joe Biden holds phone call with allies 

Joe Biden consulted with US allies including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson via video call on Tuesday. 

The meeting, announced on Biden’s schedule, “is part of our regular coordination with allies and partners in support of Ukraine,” an official said.

The videoconference kicked off just before 12pm and also brought together the leaders of France, Germany, Romania, Poland, Italy, Canada and Japan. 

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg took part, as well as the presidents of the European Commission and the European Council, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, according to the White House.

The meeting was to address “efforts to hold Russia accountable”, the White House said.

3. Russia takes first city in Donbas offensive

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