Why Ukrainians don’t want the UN chief meeting Vladimir Putin
- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is scheduled to meet Putin this week
- Ukraine says Guterres is not authorised to speak on behalf of the government
- Guterres will travel to Ukraine after his meeting with Putin
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is planning to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin this week and Ukrainians are not happy. Expressing Ukraine’s disapproval of the meeting, Igor Zhovka, deputy head of the office of the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said that the UN chief was “not really” authorised to speak on behalf of the Ukraine government.
“This is not good idea to travel to Moscow. We did not understand his intention to travel to Moscow and talk to President Putin,” the Ukrainian official told NBC News during an interview. “Any peace talks are good if they end with the result. I really doubt if those peace talks organised by secretary-general of the UN would end up with any result,” said Zhovka.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told CBS that he was unsure about whether Guterres’ meeting with Putin signalled any diplomatic breakthrough. “So many leaders of countries of civilised world, international organisation tried to have this negotiation. But it seems that the Russian Federation and Putin are not interested in this negotiation,” Shmyhal said.
Condemning Russia in the strongest words, the Ukrainian prime minister said Moscow is “interested in the genocide of Ukrainians.” “They are interested in creation of a migration crisis in Europe and the world. They are interested in creation of food crisis, energy crisis. So they do just these things, and we don’t know…I’m not sure they are capable to hold these negotiations in a proper way.”
Antonio Guterres, the former Portuguese prime minister, has a busy week ahead. He will first be visiting Turkey and meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Guterres will next be going to Russia where he would meet Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and will be received by Vladimir Putin, according to a statement put out by the UN.
After his Russia visit, Guterres will travel to Ukraine where he will be received by President Volodymyr Zelensky. The UN chief’s visit to Ukraine follows a scathing criticism of the global peacekeeper by Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksii Reznikov in a Wall Street Journal op-ed where he accused the United Nations of being “an enabler of Russian war crimes.”