UN chief to meet with Putin to press for peace in Ukraine

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin next week to make an urgent, face-to-face plea for peace in Ukraine, the world body said Friday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that Guterres is due to meet Tuesday with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and that Putin will also host the U.N. chief.

U.N. spokesperson Eri Kaneko said discussions about a similar Guterres visit to Ukraine are under way.

“He hopes to talk about what can be done to bring peace to Ukraine urgently,” she said, adding that Guterres aims to discuss “steps that can be taken right now in order to silence the guns” and to help people who need to get to safety.

Guterres asked Tuesday to meet with both Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in their respective capitals.

Ukraine quickly welcomed the idea, but it hadn’t been disclosed before Friday whether Russia would accept.

Guterres had appealed for a four-day “humanitarian pause” in fighting leading up to Sunday, when Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter.