UN chief to travel to Moscow and Kyiv this week 'to discuss urgent steps' for peace

Secretary-General António Guterres meets with Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s minister for foreign affairs. (Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten)

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres will travel to Moscow this week to meet with President Vladimir Putin before heading to Kyiv for talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

Guterres will meet Putin and have a working meeting and lunch with foreign minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday, a UN spokesperson confirmed on Friday. 

The purpose of the meeting is “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”, the UN told reporters in an email.

He will then travel to Kyiv on Thursday to meet with Ukraine’s leader, as well as foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba. The UN Chief will also hold talks with UN staff on the ground about scaling up humanitarian assistance.

Guterres has come under pressure to step up action to secure a peaceful resolution to the war in Ukraine nearly two months into Russia’s invasion. 

In a letter, over 200 former UN officials had urged him “to intensify your personal efforts, deploying all capabilities at your disposal and acting upon lessons learnt from previous conflicts, for the cessation of hostilities and conflict resolution through peaceful means”, The Guardian reported.

“We want to see a clear strategy to re-establish peace, starting with a provisional ceasefire, and the use of the UN’s capacity for good offices, mediation and conflict-resolution,” the authors said, suggesting that Guterres visits conflict zones and temporarily moves his office to Europe.