UN Secretary General to visit Moscow next week to meet with Vladimir Putin

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Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Antonio Guterres at the Kremlin in Moscow in June 2018 (AFP via Getty Images)
Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Antonio Guterres at the Kremlin in Moscow in June 2018 (AFP via Getty Images)

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is due to meet with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin next week.

The pair will hold talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on Tuesday April 26, according to Mr Guterres’ associate spokesman Eri Kaneko.

It will be the first time Mr Guterres has met face-to-face with the Russian leader since he announced the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

Mr Guterres hopes the meeting will address what can be done to bring peace to Ukraine urgently, Mr Kaneko told reporters, as the war continues for an eighth week.

While in Moscow, Mr Guterres will also have a working meeting and lunch with Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

The UN chief is also in separate talks about a potential meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine, he added.

Volodymyr Zelensky and Antonio Guterres in 2019 (AFP via Getty Images)
Volodymyr Zelensky and Antonio Guterres in 2019 (AFP via Getty Images)

It comes on the 58th day of the invasion, which has seen intense shelling and bombardment by Russian forces across Ukraine’s towns and cities.

On Friday it was revealed that the Kremlin is seeking to take “full control” of the south, in addition to Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, according to a Russian general.

Major General Rustam Minnekayev said Russia’s military objective is to seize the south and open a route to the separatist region of Transnistria in Moldova, a small Russian-backed region that borders Ukraine from the west.

It is not clear whether the general’s comments were officially sanctioned.

In response, Ukraine said the comments are evidence Russia was lying when it said it had no “territorial ambitions” when it launched the invasion.

The plans meant Russia had “acknowledged that the goal of the war is not victory over the mythical Nazis, but simply the occupation of eastern and southern Ukraine. Imperialism as it is,” Ukraine’s defence ministry said on Twitter.

Both Moldova and separatist authorities in the breakaway region have denied th claim.

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