The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, has sent letters to the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a bid to end the ongoing war between the two countries.
The UN chief’s spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, said on Wednesday, that Guterres had asked the duo to receive him in Moscow and Kyiv respectively in the coming days.
Dujarric added that the letters were handed over to the countries’ UN Missions in New York on Tuesday.
He said: “The secretary-general said he would like to discuss urgent steps to bring about peace in Ukraine and the future of multilateralism based on the Charter of the UN and international law.
“He noted that both Ukraine and the Russian Federation are founding members of the United Nations and have always been strong supporters of this Organisation.”
Guterres’s move to hold talks with Putin and Zelenskyy came a few days after he called for a humanitarian pause in Ukraine ahead of Orthodox Christian Easter this weekend.
The number of casualties of the war which began on February 24 has continued to increase.
There were 5,121 civilian casualties in Ukraine as of Tuesday, including 2,224 deaths, according to the latest update from the UN human rights office, OHCR.
In eastern Ukraine, some 1.4 million people were without access to running water, including in the besieged port city of Mariupol.
Millions more had only limited access to water and electricity.