The United Nations secretary common met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his international minister. He got here to Moscow as a “messenger of peace.”
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
We start this hour with the newest diplomatic effort to finish the battle in Ukraine. The top of the United Nations was in Moscow at the moment assembly Russian President Vladimir Putin and his international minister. The U.N. chief’s mission – to attempt to bridge variations with Russia.
Effectively, NPR’s Charles Maynes is there in Russia, in Moscow. Hey, Charles.
CHARLES MAYNES, BYLINE: Hello there.
KELLY: That is attention-grabbing, this go to, as a result of, as we all know, there haven’t been plenty of diplomatic breakthroughs on Ukraine to have a good time of late. What precisely was the secretary common hoping to realize?
MAYNES: Yeah. Effectively, the secretary common, Antonio Guterres, stated it was easy – he’d come to Moscow as, quote, “a messenger of peace.” Let’s pay attention in.
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ANTONIO GUTERRES: My goal and my agenda is strictly linked to save lots of lives and to scale back struggling.
MAYNES: Now, Guterres appeared to haven’t any illusions getting into. He famous that the U.N. and his Russian host had very totally different views about what was occurring in Ukraine. And he admitted his personal earlier requires a cease-fire had gone nowhere. So his focus, once more, was on easing the struggling. He stated this battle was creating shockwaves not solely in Ukraine and Russia, however all through the world, inflicting rising meals and vitality costs. And he stated the earlier this battle ends, the higher it will be for everyone.
KELLY: Yeah. On that focus that he is proclaiming there of lowering struggling, saving lives, was there any progress on humanitarian corridors in Ukraine, you recognize, making an attempt to get civilians out of cities below siege after which they are not allowed to go away safely or they’re secure just for a number of hours? Any motion?
MAYNES: Effectively, yeah, in a method. It is actually his one huge proposal. He stated he wished to permit the U.N. to take the lead in working with each side to determine humanitarian corridors for civilians fleeing the combating. It was a method, Guterres argued, to construct belief that these gives had been really secure and never some, you recognize, propaganda instrument for both Russia or Ukraine. You recognize, he additionally singled out the humanitarian disaster within the metropolis of Mariupol, the place Ukrainian troopers and civilians had been trapped in a Soviet-era steelworks manufacturing unit by Russian forces, calling it a disaster inside a disaster that demanded motion.
However, you recognize, Guterres additionally bought right into a outstanding forwards and backwards on the televised portion of his assembly with President Putin. You recognize, the 2 males had been sitting within the Kremlin on the far ends of a large white desk. Some folks may acknowledge it from latest visits that Putin has had with world leaders. And Guterres instructed Putin that the U.N. seen Russia’s actions towards its neighbor as, quote, “an invasion.”
KELLY: Wait, actually? He used the phrase invasion? How did that go down?
MAYNES: Effectively, not nicely. As you may think, Putin challenged him on it.
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PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN: (Talking Russian).
MAYNES: So Putin stated he’d intently studied authorized precedents for recognizing unbiased nations and protection treaties in Western Europe, and stated, you recognize, why cannot Russia do the identical within the Donbas? You recognize, there, after all, Russia has acknowledged and now come to the army assist of those self-proclaimed Donbas republics. And so he actually tried to supply authorized cowl for Russia’s actions in Ukraine to the top of the U.N. dwell on Russian TV.
Now, he additionally repeated an argument that Russian officers have made usually of late, and it is this – that Russia needs a diplomatic answer to the battle, however Ukraine hasn’t been a dependable negotiating associate. And the explanation, Moscow says, is that the West retains giving Kyiv more and more heavy weapons and tells them to try to settle it on the battlefield.
KELLY: Which I assume brings me again to the place we started, the dearth of diplomatic breakthroughs. The place does diplomacy go from right here?
MAYNES: Effectively, we’ll see if Guterres makes any progress together with his humanitarian hall concept, first with Putin after which with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, with whom he meets later this week. The Ukrainians, I ought to add, weren’t too joyful to come back in second on that listing. If Guterres is profitable, it might go a way towards silencing critics who say he and the U.N. have been largely lacking amid this disaster in Ukraine thus far.
KELLY: That’s NPR’s Charles Maynes reporting in Moscow. Thanks.
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