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The United nations The Secretary-General struck an ominous tone on Wednesday when asked about his recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the possibility of a peace agreement with Ukraine.
“It was clear to us that at the moment there are no immediate opportunities for a peace agreement or immediate opportunities for a global ceasefire,” Antonio Guterres told reporters.
Instead, Guterres said, the United Nations was focusing on humanitarian needs and coordinating evacuations with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross from the affected areas in Ukraine.
He said the United Nations was still working to facilitate channels between Kyiv and Moscow to facilitate evacuations and humanitarian corridors in the war-torn country.
The head of the United Nations unequivocally condemned the illegal invasion of Moscow and said that the devastation it left behind is seeping beyond the borders of Ukraine.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine caused great destruction, devastation and suffering in the country, causing the largest exodus in Europe since World War II – and sending shock waves across the region and the world,” he told reporters. “This absurd war must stop.”
Guterres met Putin late last month in a plea to allow the safe evacuation of hundreds of civilians, including women, children and the elderly, from Mariupol – the site of some of the toughest bombing since the Russian invasion began in late February.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations was not optimistic after the meeting. A Putin spokesman later said the Kremlin had agreed “in principle” to the concept of humanitarian evacuations.
Although the remaining women, children, and elderly people were eventually evacuated from the Azovstal factory after two weeks, it remains unclear whether the civilian men were forced to stay and what would happen to the soldiers holed up in the factory’s tunnels.
Guterres apparently did not gain any additional knowledge about Putin’s plans in Ukraine after his visit to Moscow last month.
When asked what he thinks of Putin’s “endgame,” he quipped and said, “If I had known that, I would have had divine powers.”
“I hope nothing lasts forever,” Guterres said. “This war will not last forever.” “There will be a moment when peace negotiations are on the table, and there will be a moment when I hope it will be possible, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and international law, to solve the problem,” he said.
“But there is one thing I can tell you: we will never give up,” he added.
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