UN chief set for desperate meeting with Putin as ‘Ukrainians forces now surrounded’

Ukraine: UN Secretary General to meet Putin over Mariupol

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The UN Secretary-General will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss a potential civilian exit strategy in Mariupol. Ukrainian soldiers fighting in the besieged city have been surrounded by the Azovstal steelworks where they have taken shelter. Up to 1,000 civilians remain trapped in the steelworks alongside the Ukrainian military as previous efforts for a humanitarian corridor to safety have failed. António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, will host an urgent meeting with Putin to discuss humanitarian efforts to rescue Ukrainian civilians stranded in the conflict.

Andrew Plant, a reporter for the BBC, established that civilians sheltering in the steelworks are “running low on supplies” and will not be able to sustain their position much longer.

He confirmed that “Ukrainian forces are now surrounded” in the area and there has been “no agreement of a ceasefire” despite the heavy civilian presence.

According to UN reports, well over 5,000 civilian casualties have already been linked to the conflict and a further 11 million civilians have been displaced. 

Mr Plant suggested civilians in the Mariupol steelworks are desperate to escape to safety as they have been “waiting for a humanitarian corridor that never came.

António Guterres will meet with President Putin in Moscow on Tuesday before the UN Secretary General moves on to meet President Zelensky in Kyiv on Thursday.

Mr Guterres will also meet with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Reporter Andrew Plant suggested “hopes of peace may be slim” as Sergey Lavrov denounced the actions of NATO and Ukraine’s allies.

The BBC correspondent explained Russian officials have suggested there is “a danger of the Ukraine conflict leading to World War Three.”

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Speaking to Russian state media, Lavrov has accused NATO of engaging in a “proxy war” with Russia. 

Mr Plant confirmed NATO has continued to “pour weapons into Ukraine” despite the claims of the Russian Foreign Minister.

In a statement discussing the conflict in Mariupol, President Zelensky argued it was still necessary for “every Ukrainian” to continue to “defend freedom” within the country.

António Guterres will meet with the Ukrainian President on Thursday with the aim to scale up humanitarian assistance within Ukraine, particularly the Mariupol region.

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A spokesperson for the UN confirmed António Guterres will meet with the foreign leaders in an effort to “bring peace to Ukraine urgently”.

President Zelensky had attempted to establish a temporary ceasefire over the Easter weekend but Russian forces refused the agreement.

Deputy Prime Minister for Ukraine Iryna Vereschuk confirmed previous efforts to establish an exit corridor for Mariupol civilians “didn’t work” and the numbers rescued were far fewer than Ukraine officials anticipated.

President Zelensky remained hopeful for a Ukrainian “victory” and continued to call upon the UN to increase humanitarian assistance within Ukraine.

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