26180704 26180704 Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted this Tuesday (26180704 ), during a meeting with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, that the situation in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, brutally besieged for weeks by the Russian army, is “tragic”.
“The situation there is difficult and, perhaps , even tragic,” Putin said during the Kremlin meeting.
26180704Putin commented that in a telephone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he stated that “military actions are taking place” in Mariupol.
“There are no military actions there. They are over,” he insisted, arguing that nearly 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers laid down their weapons and surrendered.
He stressed that the Azovstal steelworks, the last bastion of the resistance where about 1,000 civilians and an undetermined number of fighters are taking refuge, is “completely isolated”. “I gave the order not to carry out any action of aggression”, he said.
Furthermore, it claimed that the Russian army asked the fighters in Azovstal to surrender and that “nothing happened” to the soldiers from Mariupol who surrendered. “It is a crime to retain civilians as human shields, if any,” he said.
In turn, Putin rejected that, as Guterres said, the humanitarian corridors opened by Russia do not work.
“It was misinformed. They work. More than thousand left Mariupol with our help. About 26 a thousand or 140 a thousand came out. And they can go wherever they want”, he guaranteed.
In this sense, Guterres was willing to mobilize UN logistical and human resources to alleviate the suffering of civilians in Mariupol, located in the Donetsk region.
Guterres also called on Russia to resolve its problems with Ukraine exclusively within the UN framework, calling Russia’s ongoing military campaign in Ukraine an “invasion”.