The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, appeared in Moscow, Tuesday, to meet with President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. There, they discussed the war in Ukraine, and after the meeting, colossal contradictions were revealed in the two parties’ accounts of what had been happening on Ukrainian soil since February 24.
“It is quite clear that there are two different positions on what is happening in Ukraine.” This is how UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres assessed the conversation he had on Ukraine with President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday in Moscow.
Guterres, who also experienced moments of tension in his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, stressed that Russia is treating the armed conflict in the neighboring country as a “special military operation”.
However, the head of the multilateral organization said in his meeting with the press after meeting with Kremlin politicians.
“We consider that the territory of Ukraine has been invaded,” Guterres defended during his meeting with Putin.
The Russian president, citing Kosovo as an example, defended the right of peoples’ self-determination. In addition, he emphasized that he had “read himself all the documents of the United Nations International Tribunal.”
And Putin wanted to emphasize this by saying: “I fully remember the ruling of the International Court, according to which a certain territory of a state is not obligated to request permission to declare its sovereignty from the central authorities of the country,” adding: “If this precedent can be the (self-proclaimed Donbass) republics itself) to do so too.And for our part, we got the right to be recognized as independent states “and then to give them military assistance.”
“We had the right to do this in full compliance with Article 51 of the laws of the United Nations,” the Russian president concluded, referring to the self-declaration of the Luhansk and Donetsk republics.
Mariupol’s ‘tragic’ case
During the meeting between the Russian president and the UN Secretary-General, the humanitarian issue was also discussed in Mariupol, a city in southeastern Ukraine that has been besieged by Russian forces for weeks.
This Tuesday, Putin gave the green light “in principle” to the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to continue evacuating civilians.
“You say that Russia’s humanitarian corridors are not working. Mr. Secretary-General, you have been misled. They are working,” Putin said, noting that between 130,000 and 140,000 civilians had recently left Mariupol.
Putin described the situation there as “difficult and even tragic”, but wanted to stress that “there is no more hostilities” and that the Azovstal plant, the steel plant where nearly a thousand civilians and an unspecified number of Ukrainian fighters took refuge, is absolutely. isolated.
“The Ukrainian army is obligated to release them, otherwise they will act like Islamic State terrorists,” Guterres said of the civilians.
He added that the situation in Mariupol is a “crisis within a crisis”, with “hundreds of thousands of civilians in need of humanitarian aid, and many of them need to be evacuated.”
The Secretary-General of the multilateral organization also demonstrated the commitment of the United Nations to “mobilize all its human and logistical resources to save the people in Mariupol”.
Guterres proposed a “contact group” and warned of the consequences of war
Despite the marked differences in attitudes regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Antonio Guterres wanted to build bridges in favor of dialogue between Russia and Ukraine virtually.
The way to do this would be to establish a contact group “to search for possibilities of opening safe humanitarian corridors with a ceasefire to really ensure their effectiveness” in the areas where the fighting is currently taking place on Ukrainian soil.
The UN chief’s visit to Moscow before Kyiv drew criticism from Western sectors, despite his insistence that his visit was “exclusively related to saving lives and alleviating suffering”.
Guterres defended his existence, calling him a “messenger of peace” and noting that the consequences of the war in Ukraine could also be seen in the rest of the world.
“The catastrophic acceleration in food and fuel prices that has already occurred over the past year is causing great suffering among hundreds of millions of the most vulnerable people around the world,” the Secretary-General concluded, warning of grievances that have already begun. conflict, which will be seriously postponed if an early solution is not found.
With information from EFE
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