United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres will visit Moscow on Tuesday where he will meet Russian president Vladimir Putin as part of his efforts to end the ongoing war in Ukraine, news agency Reuters reported.
Guterres will also have a working meeting and lunch with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.
“Guterres hopes to talk about what can be done to bring peace to Ukraine urgently during his visit to Moscow. His office is in touch with the government of Ukraine for potential visit,” UN spokesperson Eri Kaneko said.
Guterres’ visit is extremely significant as the war between Russian and Ukrainian forces has entered the 58th day.
Earlier in the day, Putin spoke to European Union chief Charles Michel over the developments in Ukraine, AFP reported. The EU boss said he urged the Russian president in a phone call to allow humanitarian access to Mariupol during Orthodox Easter.
“Strongly urged for immediate humanitarian access and safe passage from Mariupol and other besieged cities all the more on the occasion of Orthodox Easter” this weekend, Michel said on Twitter after the call.
Ukraine says hundreds of its forces and civilians are holed up inside the sprawling Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol and Kyiv has repeatedly called for a ceasefire to allow women, children and the elderly to safely exit the shattered city.
Several planned humanitarian corridors into the strategic southeastern port city have been called off at the last minute.
The Kremlin has claimed the “liberation” of Mariupol, whose control is pivotal to its war plans nearly two months after Putin ordered the shock invasion of Russia’s Western-leaning neighbour.
This comes at a time when Russia said its talks with Ukraine had been stalled, claiming it hasn’t received any response from Ukraine to its recent proposal.
“Right now, they (talks) have ground to a halt, because another proposal we passed on to Ukrainian negotiators about five days ago, which was drawn up with their comments taken into account, it remains without a response,” Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference.