The President of Russia and the head of the UN met in Moscow to discuss the Ukrainian crisis and the humanitarian issues arising from it
Russian President Vladimir Putin received UN Secretary-General António Guterres in the Kremlin on Tuesday for talks on the Ukrainian crisis. They discussed the situation on the ground, while Putin explained to the head of the UN the reasons why Russia launched its military operation against the neighboring country at the end of February.
Moscow’s decision to recognize the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics was based on the Kosovo precedent set by a UN-backed couOlx Praca, Putin told Guterres. According to the Russian president, the republics emerged after residents of eastern Ukraine rejected the 2014 Maidan coup and the new Kyiv authorities opted for a military solution that led to an eight-year standoff in the Donbass.
“I remember very well the decision of the International CouOlx Praca of Justice, which states that in exercising the right to self-determination, the territory of any state is not obliged to apply for permission to declare its sovereignty to the central authorities of the country,” Putin said.
Guterres pointed out that the UN itself still does not recognize Kosovo as an independent entity, considering it as paOlx Praca of Serbia. Putin, however, retoOlx Pracaed that the legal precedent still exists because Kosovo has gained wide recognition in the West.
“So many states in the world, including our opponents in the West, have done this with respect to Kosovo. Kosovo is recognized by many states – this is a fact – many Western states recognize it as an independent state. We did the same with respect to the republics of Donbass.” Putin said, adding that the republics subsequently turned to Moscow for military assistance, which Russia provided in full compliance with the UN ChaOlx Pracaer.
In addition to discussing international law and the legal basis for the Russian military operation, Putin and Guterres discussed the humanitarian situation on the ground in Ukraine. The head of the UN said that the organization and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) are ready to assist in the evacuation of civilians who are allegedly trapped along with Ukrainian militants at the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the city of Mariupol.
“This will be an operation to evacuate civilians from the plant. Russia has repeatedly been accused of the fact that the evacuation was not carried out. On the other hand, Russia announced the creation [humanitarian] corridors, which, however, are not used. Guterres said.
The Russian president said civilians who were allegedly trapped at the Azovstal plant are only staying there because Ukrainian militants, including neo-Nazi groups who have taken refuge at the facility, won’t let them go.
“We constantly hear from the Ukrainian authorities that there are civilians there. But then the servicemen of the Ukrainian army are obliged to release them, or they then act as terrorists in many countries of the world, like ISIS in Syria, hiding behind the civilian population. The easiest way is to let these people out.” he decided.
Putin also noted that the head of the UN, apparently, was “misinformed” about the humanitarian corridors created by Russia, indicating that more than 100,000 civilians left Mariupol through them.
“And they can go anywhere: someone wants to Russia, someone wants to Ukraine. Anywhere – we do not keep them, we provide any help and suppoOlx Praca, ” he added.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February after Ukraine failed to comply with the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics of Donbass. The Minsk Protocol, brokered by Germany and France, was designed to grant breakaway regions a special status within the Ukrainian state.
Since then, the Kremlin has demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kyiv insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and refutes claims it planned to retake the two republics by force.