During the negotiations in Kyiv, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and UN Secretary-General António Guterres discussed the evacuation of Ukrainian citizens from the Russian-besieged city of Mariupol in the Donetsk region, including the Azovstal plant.
The Ukrainian Head of State noted that António Guterres discussed this issue during his recent visit to Russia.
"We see that despite the words of the Russian President about the alleged cessation of hostilities in Mariupol, the territory of the Azovstal plant is under barbaric bombing by the Russian army. And this continued even during the talks of the Secretary-General in Moscow," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during a meeting with media representatives following the negotiations with António Guterres.
He stressed that Ukraine is ready for urgent talks to evacuate people from Mariupol and hopes that the participation of the UN Secretary-General in this mission will be effective.
The Head of State also called on António Guterres to make efforts to stop the deportation of Ukrainian citizens to Russia, gain access to the forcibly deported and return them to their homeland as soon as possible.
Answering journalists' questions, the President expressed hope that with the participation of the UN Secretary-General he would be able to bring people back alive from Mariupol.
For his part, António Guterres assured that he is doing everything possible to save people in Mariupol.
"I want to tell you, Mr. President, and the people of Ukraine: we do not give up. We will continue to call for a complete ceasefire, as well as for immediate practical measures to save lives and minimize human suffering. Effective humanitarian corridors, local cessation of hostilities, safe routes for civilians and victims. Today, the residents of Mariupol need just such a step," he said.
The UN Secretary-General stressed that thousands of civilians in the city - the elderly, the sick and persons with reduced mobility - need vital assistance.
"They need a rescue route to leave this hell," said António Guterres.
The UN Secretary-General said that during his recent visit to Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin had agreed in general to involve the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross in the evacuation of civilians from Azovstal. "Today, Mr. Zelenskyy and I had the opportunity to discuss this issue. Intensive discussions are currently underway to implement this proposal," said António Guterres.