UN chief embarks on Moscow trip; Pushes for truce in Ukraine despite Russian envoy’s negative response

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Moscow: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will start a difficult three-day trip to Russia and Ukraine on Tuesday amid criticism for the limited role played by the United Nations in the management of the crisis.

Three months into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, UN agencies are struggling to reach civilians under siege in the east of the country, where humanitarian assistance is sporadic.

Meanwhile the UN Security Council, where Russia is one of five permanent members with veto power, has failed to pass any resolutions condemning the war.

Guterres continues to push for a halt in hostilities in Ukraine even though a Russian UN envoy said a cease-fire is not a good option at the moment, said a UN spokesman.”We continue to call for a cease-fire or some sort of pause. The Secretary-General did that, as you know, just last week. Clearly, that didn’t happen in time for (Orthodox) Easter,” said Farhan Haq, Deputy spokesman for Guterres.

“I don’t want to give too many details at this stage of the sort of proposals he will have. I think we’re coming at a fairly delicate moment. It’s important that he is able to talk clearly with the leadership on both sides and see what progress we can make,” he told a daily press briefing.

“Ultimately, the end goal is to have a halt to fighting and to have ways to improve the situation of the people in Ukraine, lessen the threat that they’re under, and provide humanitarian aid (to) them. So, those are the goals we’re trying, and there are certain ways that we’ll try to move those forward,” he said.

“A lot of diplomacy is about timing, about finding out when is the right time to speak with a person, to travel to a place, to do certain things. And he is going in the anticipation that there is a real opportunity that is now availing itself, and we’ll see what we can make of it,” he said.

“We don’t think that cease-fire is a good option right now. The only advantage it will present is that it will give Ukrainian forces a possibility to regroup and stage more provocations like the one in Bucha,” he told reporters.

“It is not up to me to decide, but I do not see any reason in this right now.”

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