Guterres arrives in Kyiv after Russia leg of ‘peace mission’
Kyiv, Ukraine, Apr 27 (EFE).- The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, arrived in Kyiv on Wednesday on the eve of a meeting with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Guterres’ visit to Ukraine comes after he traveled to Moscow on Tuesday, where he met with Russian president Vladimir Putin and foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.
On Saturday, Zelenskyy criticized Guterres for visiting Moscow before traveling to Kyiv, calling the decision “wrong”. “There is no justice and no logic in this order,” he said.
A spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told Efe that the order of Guterres’ visit was merely a “logistical” issue.
Guterres entered Ukraine on Wednesday morning across the border through Poland and continued his journey by car to the capital, Kyiv, escorted by UN security and Ukrainian military.
In addition to meeting with Zelenskyy and his foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba, Guterres will also meet with UN agency staff to discuss “how to optimize humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine”.
There has been no communication between the UN and the Ukrainian government following Zelenskyy’s complaint that the UN chief visited Moscow first.
The OCHA spokesman Saviano Andreu explained to Efe that Guterres’ trip to the two countries is “a peace mission”. The UN, he said, is working so that “the terror and horror in the areas that are being bombed can end as soon as possible” and so that “humanitarian aid can reach the people who need it.”
“There are many parts of Ukraine that we cannot reach, for example Mariupol, or Kherson. It is urgent that we get an agreement with humanitarian corridors and that people in need can be evacuated,” the spokesman added.
“The war has caused an unimaginable number of deaths, displaced people and level of human suffering. We have 25 percent of Ukraine’s population in need of humanitarian aid because of the war,” Abreu added.
Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged Tuesday that the situation in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which has been besieged for weeks by the Russian army, is “tragic” and “complicated.”
During his meeting in Moscow, Guterres proposed the creation of a Contact Group with Russia and Ukraine for “the search for the possibilities of opening safe humanitarian corridors with a ceasefire to ensure that they are really effective” in the areas of Ukraine affected by the fighting.
This is the UN chief’s first trip to the two warring countries since mid-February, when Russia launched its troops into eastern and northern Ukraine, triggering the largest movement of refugees in Europe since World War II.
The UN as a whole has been called into question during the war in Ukraine for its inability to stop it or even secure a truce or an agreement for “humanitarian corridors”. EFE