The United Nations Security Council on Friday unanimously adopted its first statement since Russia began its military action in Ukraine on February 24. Notably, the statement described the prevailing situation as a dispute, and not a war, conflict or invasion.

The reason behind the UN body’s position is Moscow’s use of its veto power to block all previous attempts to adopt a presidential statement, reported the Associated Press.

After the Russian offensive in Ukraine began on February 24, the Kremlin has described its actions as a “special operation” to demilitarise and “de-Nazify” Ukraine. Ukraine and Western allies have said that this is a baseless pretext for a war of choice. Thousands of civilians have been killed and millions displaced by Russia’s invasion.

In the unanimously adopted presidential statement, the Security Council on Friday expressed “deep concern regarding the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine”.

“The Security Council recalls that all member states have undertaken, under the Charter of the United Nations, the obligation to settle their international disputes by peaceful means,” the statement noted.

The statement also expressed “strong support” for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ efforts to find a peaceful solution to the dispute.

In a tweet after adoption of the resolution, Guterres noted it was the first time that that the Security Council had spoken “in one voice” for peace in Ukraine. “As I have often said, the world must come together to silence the guns and uphold the values of the United Nations Charter,” he wrote.

During Guterres’ recent visits to Moscow and Kyiv, he had reached an agreement with the presidents of Russia and Ukraine to ensure evacuation of hundreds of citizens trapped in the besieged southeastern port city of Mauripol and the Azovstal steel plant, AP reported.

The United Nations and the Red Cross have carried out two rescue missions from Mariupol and surrounding areas, and a third evacuation is underway from the steep plant, according to the news agency.