Although he was criticized last week because he left Moscow empty-handed, back in Russia the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Portuguese Antonio Guterres, made a proposal to Russian President Vladimir Putin that he could not refuse: to involve the Cross Red International in the evacuation of the Ukrainians who remain in the city of Mariupol.
The announcement was not made by the multinational body but by the Kremlin itself, who said the proposal was an “appropriate and responsible solution,” according to Russian presidential spokesman Dimitri Peskov.
Initially, Putin did not answer Guterres directly, but according to Portuguese television he seemed to reconsider and accept the proposal. According to the source, this could open the doors to the deployment of the UN Blue Helmets on Ukrainian territory. The Ukrainian president has not reacted to the proposals.
Although the Russian troops seem to control a large part of the port of Mariupol, on the Ukrainian Black Sea, they still have yet to take the Azovstal metallurgical complex, where some 1,000 Ukrainians are refugees and, according to the Western press, several hundred military and paramilitary .
According to the source, at the meeting in Moscow, Putin let Guterres know that he still believes it is possible to achieve a “positive result” in Ukraine through diplomacy. “We are negotiating and we are not rejecting talks,” he said in remarks broadcast on television at the start of the meeting.
Meanwhile, the United States rallied its allies to pledge more military support to Ukraine, accelerating the push to stop the Russian offensive and downgrade its war machine. In response, Moscow accused the West of waging a proxy war and ignoring the “considerable” risk that it could spiral into a fearsome nuclear conflict, according to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Putin has portrayed the war in Ukraine as part of a broader fight against the West, declaring when he launched the invasion in February that one of his targets was the US “empire of lies.”
Both Russia and the Western allies up the stakes. Germany announced for the first time that it would send heavy weapons to Ukraine.
The announcement came during a meeting of military leaders from 40 countries, held at the US air base in Ramstein, Germany. After the talks wrapped up, Austin told reporters that in the future, allied military leaders planned to meet monthly so they could quickly react to the fluid battlefield situation in Ukraine.
The goal is to “strengthen Ukraine’s military in the long term,” he said.