UN Secretary-General to Meet With Putin Tuesday Ahead of His Trip to Ukraine

© Sputnik / Sergey Guneev / Go to the mediabankRussian President Vladimir Putin met witn newly elect UN secretary general Attonio Guterres
Russian President Vladimir Putin met witn newly elect UN secretary general Attonio Guterres - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.04.2022
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will visit Russia on Tuesday to meet with President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov amid the ongoing special military operation in Ukraine.
The situation in Ukraine will likely be the main focus of discussions in Moscow, where Guterres will head from Ankara, Turkey, after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko said earlier in the day that Moscow expects to discuss with Guterres issues related to the situation around Mariupol and the Azovstal steel plant area. On Monday, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq confirmed that Guterres is expected to raise the situation in Mariupol during his upcoming visits to Moscow and Kiev.
The Russian Defence Ministry announced the suspension of hostilities at Azovstal in order to allow the remaining civilians, if there are any, to leave the combat zone.
Last week, Guterres called for a four-day humanitarian pause in Ukraine beginning on Holy Thursday and running through Christian Orthodox Easter on Sunday for civilians to leave the embattled areas of Ukraine and enable humanitarian convoys to reach the cities of Donetsk, Luhansk, Mariupol and Kherson.
After meeting with Putin and Lavrov, Guterres will then travel to Kiev to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba as well as with the staff of various United Nations agencies to discuss the scaling up of humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine.
The corresponding meetings in Moscow and Kiev will be held at the request of Guterres, who delivered letters to Russian and Ukrainian missions at the UN on April 19 asking for a meeting with the leadership of both countries to stop fighting and bring peace. The UN Secretary General sent the requests even though he personally admitted on April 13 that he did not see any possibility for a comprehensive ceasefire in Ukraine at the moment.
On 24 February, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine after the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk requested help to defend them from intensifying attacks by Ukrainian troops. The Russian Ministry of Defence said the operation is solely targeting Ukraine's military infrastructure and the civilian population is not in danger.
Azovstal remains the last stronghold of Ukrainian nationalists in Mariupol, including members of the infamous Azov regiment. The Donetsk People's Republic authorities said they estimate at least 400 Ukrainian troops are at the plant, including an unspecified number of foreign mercenaries.
Last week, Putin ordered stopping any attempts by the Russian military to capture the plant in order to avoid potential losses.
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