UN chief to meet with Putin to press for peace in Ukraine

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin next week to make an urgent, face-to-face plea for peace in Ukraine, the world body said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Mr Guterres is due to meet on Tuesday with Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and that Mr Putin will also host the UN chief.

UN spokesperson Eri Kaneko said discussions about a similar Guterres visit to Ukraine are under way.

“He hopes to talk about what can be done to bring peace to Ukraine urgently,” she said, adding that Mr Guterres aims to discuss “steps that can be taken right now in order to silence the guns” and to help people who need to get to safety.

Mr Guterres asked on Tuesday to meet with both Mr Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in their respective capitals.

Ukraine quickly welcomed the idea, but it had not been disclosed before Friday whether Russia would accept.

Mr Guterres had appealed for a four-day “humanitarian pause” in fighting leading up to Sunday, when Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter.

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