Around two months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will visit Russia and Ukraine next week. After reception by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday in Moscow, Guterres will travel to Ukraine and meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy there on Thursday, according to the United Nations in New York.
Working meetings with the two foreign ministers Sergei Lavrov and Dmytro Kuleba are also planned. The UN chief had previously asked for the meetings to mediate in the struggle for a ceasefire in the conflict.
Earlier, Guterres had sent letters to the UN missions of Russia and Ukraine, asking to meet him in the countries’ capitals. “Urgent steps” must be taken to establish peace in Ukraine. The UN chief has recently called for a ceasefire in the Ukraine war. There was initially no information as to whether Guterres was only traveling to Kyiv or to other parts of the country.
UN sees more signs of war crimes
The United Nations initially did not want to portray the Secretary-General’s initiative as an official attempt at mediation. However, he followed growing calls from the UN apparatus for Guterres to play a more active role in the conflict. Most recently, a letter from former high-ranking UN employees increased the pressure. They called on Guterres to work harder on a political solution and see the United Nations’ raison d’être at risk.
The trip to Moscow is likely to be one of the most important of Guterres’ time as UN Secretary-General. UN sees more signs of war crimes in Ukraine. Satellite images indicated a possible mass grave in the area around Mariupol.