United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has requested to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow to discuss “urgent steps” to end the fighting in Ukraine.
The request was made in a letter handed to the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations. A separate request was made to the Ukraine mission at the U.N. for the secretary-general to visit Kyiv.
“The Secretary-General said, at this time of great peril and consequence, he would like to discuss urgent steps to bring about peace in Ukraine and the future of multilateralism based on the Charter of the United Nations and international law,” Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the secretary-general, said in a statement.
“He noted that both Ukraine and the Russian Federation are founding members of the United Nations and have always been strong supporters of this Organization.”
Guterres’s push for face-to-face diplomacy with Putin comes as the Russian leader has directed an intensive, renewed assault on Ukraine’s eastern territory. Ukrainian forces surrounded in the southern port city of Mariupol warn they are likely to lose the city within a matter of hours.
American and European officials have described Putin as extremely isolated and cut off from accurate information over his military losses in Ukraine.
Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer was the last Western leader to meet face-to-face with Putin in Moscow on April 11. He told news outlets that the Russian president “believes he is winning the war.”
“[Putin] thinks the war is necessary for security guarantees for the Russian Federation. He doesn’t trust the international community, he blames Ukrainians for genocides in the Donbas region,” Nehammer told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
“So he is now in his world, but I think he knows what is going on now in Ukraine.”
Russia has been condemned by other UN member states, with a majority of nations voting in the General Assembly to condemn Moscow as the instigator of the war and to suspend Russia’s participation in the Human Rights Council over allegations of grave human rights violations.
Russia holds a permanent seat on the five-member U.N. Security Council and has used its veto power to reject efforts to hold it accountable for its invasion into Ukraine.