UN Secretary General to meet Putin
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will travel to Moscow to discuss the Ukrainian crisis with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, on Tuesday.
According to a brief statement by the Secretary General’s spokesman, the meeting – the first face-to-face encounter between Putin and Guterres since the launch of Russia’s attack on Ukraine in late February – will take place on Tuesday, April 26. On the same day Guterres will also have “a working meeting and lunch” with Lavrov.
The Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that the encounters would take place but has not provided any details on the agenda.
However, Guterres’ plans were revealed on Wednesday by his spokesman Stephane Dujarric. Dujarric announced that, on the previous day, the UN Secretary General had sent letters to Russian and Ukrainian presidents Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky asking for meetings in Moscow and Kiev.
“The Secretary-General said, at this time of great peril and consequence, he would like to discuss urgent steps to bring about peace in Ukraine and the future of multilateralism based on the Charter of the United Nations and international law,” Dujarric said in a statement.
Guterres’ meeting with Zelensky is yet to be confirmed, according to Dujarric.
The Secretary General’s visit to Moscow comes as negotiations between Moscow and Kiev have apparently stalled, with the sides constantly accusing one another of hampering civilian evacuations, committing war crimes, violating international law and spreading disinformation.
Russia attacked its neighbor following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.
Western countries have condemned Russia’s offensive and imposed hard-hitting sanctions on Moscow. Russia considers these measures unlawful and unjustified and is responding with its own counter-sanctions.