António Guterres called on Moscow and Kyiv to create humanitarian corridors

UN Secretary General António Guterres urged Moscow and Kyiv to work in coordination with the UN to allow humanitarian corridors to open in Ukraine as war rages in the country.

“I have proposed the creation of a contact group consisting of Russia, Ukraine and the UN to explore the possibility of opening humanitarian corridors,” Guterres said after a meeting in Moscow with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. “We urgently need such corridors for the evacuation of civilians that will be really safe and efficient,” he said.

Guterres specifically noted the concern over the fate of civilians trapped at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, besieged by the Russian army. The United Nations is “ready to fully mobilize its human and logistical resources to help save lives in Mariupol,” he said. He also expressed “concern about repeated reports of possible war crimes” in Ukraine, saying “an independent investigation is needed.”

Sergei Lavrov, in turn, accused the Ukrainian authorities of negotiating in bad faith, and Western countries of “pumping” Ukraine with weapons in order to gain its advantage on the battlefield.

“If this continues, the negotiations are unlikely to have any result. But we are committed to a negotiated solution,” Lavrov said. The day before, he said that the content of the future peace treaty would depend on the course of hostilities. Lavrov also called the prospect of a nuclear war real, at the same time noting that such a war is unacceptable for Russia.

Guterres is also expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. From Moscow, the UN Secretary General intends to go to Kyiv. The itinerary of the trip was criticized by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He said that the general secretary should first visit Ukraine and look at the destruction, and then go to Moscow.

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