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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday that despite two months of international sanctions and condemnation of the country’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia still has a “different attitude” to what is happening in the war-torn country.
Mr Guterres made the remarks in Moscow following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. He is expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin later today before heading to Ukraine on Thursday to speak with the country’s leader, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“I had a very honest discussion with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and it is clear that there are two different views on what is happening in Ukraine,” Guterres said in front of Lavrov and journalists in Moscow.
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“According to the Russian Federation, what is happening is a special military operation with the targets announced,” he continued. “According to the UN, in accordance with resolutions adopted by the General Assembly, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a violation of its territorial integrity and against the UN Charter.”
Guterres said “today, across the Donbas [in Ukraine]a violent battle is underway with huge deaths and destruction.
“Many civilians are being killed and hundreds of thousands of people are in life-threatening situations, trapped by the conflict,” he added.
Guterres also on Tuesday proposed the formation of a “humanitarian contact group” that would facilitate safe evacuations of Ukrainians captured in cities like Mariupol, where officials have said up to 1,000 civilians are hiding inside the Azovstal steel plant.
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“My proposal is that the coordinated work of the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Federation of Ukraine and the Russian Federation should enable the safe evacuation of civilians who want to leave both inside the Azovstal factory and in the city in any direction. and provides the necessary humanitarian assistance, “he said.
Ukraine wants the UN “to be the initiator and guarantor of the humanitarian corridor from Azovstal for civilians,” Reuters Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk was quoted as saying on Monday.