UN chief Guterres to meet Russia’s Putin as Ukraine war escalates

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow later on Tuesday but expectations from the meeting are said to be low after several failed diplomatic efforts so far.

The talks between Putin and Guterres are expected to focus on the besieged city of Mariupol where, despite declaring a victory, Russian forces have failed to take the Azovstal steelworks.

Ukraine forces said earlier on Tuesday that Russia continued to blockade its units at the plant.

Ukraine has asked Guterres to guarantee a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians sheltering inside Azovstal.

The UN chief is also expected to travel on to Kyiv on Thursday where he will meet President Volodomyr Zelensky.

The US is also set to kick off Ukraine-related defense talks with dozens of countries today, with US defense secretary Lloyd Austin playing host in Germany.

These talks come as Moscow’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned the risk of a World War III “is serious” and criticised Kyiv’s approach to floundering peace talks.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, however, responded that Lavrov was trying to “scare the world off” from supporting the country.

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