UN Secretary General’s Meeting with Putin: Understand the Purpose and Expectations | Ukraine and Russia

UN Secretary-General António Guterres will meet on Tuesday (26) with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and on Thursday (28) with Ukraine’s leader, Volodymyr Zelensky.

The purpose of the meetings is to try to end the war that began with the invasion of Ukrainian territory by Russian troops on February 24.

Asking for the meetings in writing, the UN described the moment as one of great risk and consequences, and said it wanted to discuss urgent steps towards peace in Ukraine and the future of multilateralism.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks to the UN Security Council (Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

Guterres condemned and criticized the invasion of Ukraine from the start. He said it was a violation of international law and ordered investigations into Russian war crime allegations.

According to UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric, Guterres even tried to reach Putin by phone, but was unable to.

Both Russia and Ukraine have criticized the UN. Ukraine asks for a more incisive action by the organization, and Russia considers that the UN should not participate.

The Ukrainian president even told the UN Security Council that as the body failed to prevent war, it should consider dissolving it.

Russia suspended from Human Rights Council

In early April, the United Nations General Assembly suspended Russia from the Human Rights Council for “brutal and systematic human rights violations and abuses” committed by Russian soldiers in the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia was in its second year of a three-year term on the Geneva-based council, which cannot make legally binding decisions. Their decisions send important political messages, however, and can authorize investigations. The country is one of the most vocal members of the council and its suspension prevents it from speaking and voting, officials say, although its diplomats can still participate in debates.

UN General Assembly suspends Russia from Human Rights Council

UN General Assembly suspends Russia from Human Rights Council

Last month, the council opened an investigation into allegations of rights violations, including possible war crimes in Ukraine.

Since the Russian invasion began on February 24, the General Assembly has adopted two resolutions denouncing Russia.

What Russia wants to discuss

Russia intends to discuss issues related to the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol and its Azovstal plant in talks with Guterres, according to the RIA news agency.

What Ukraine wants to discuss

Ukraine has appealed to the UN for the organization to be “initiator and guarantor of the Azovstal humanitarian corridor for civilians,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on the messaging app Telegram.

Aozvstal is a steel mill near Mariupol, and it is the last Ukrainian stronghold that has not yet been taken over by the Russians in the city.

The deputy prime minister said officials from the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross should be present when any corridor is established.

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