The AP Interview: Kyiv asks UN for Mariupol evacuation

The Ukrainian foreign minister called on the U.N. chief Monday to urge Russia to evacuate the besieged port city of Mariupol. He said it was something that the international body can achieve.

The AP Interview: Kyiv asks UN for Mariupol evacuation

Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister, told The Associated Press that he was worried about U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres falling into a Kremlin trap during the war.

He said that many other foreign officials were also trapped in Moscow, and they played around to demonstrate the power of Russian diplomacy.

Guterres should "focus primarily on one topic: evacuation of Mariupol", Kuleba stated. Kuleba was referring to the seaside town where approximately 100,000 people are trapped, while a contingent Ukrainian fighters fight against Russian forces at a steel mill where hundreds more civilians are sheltering.

"This is something the U.N. can do. He said that if he shows political will, character, and integrity, it will allow us to take one step forward."

Farhan Haq, the U.N. deputy spokesperson, stated that Guterres would bring many ideas and suggestions to New York. He added, "I don’t want too many details at present about the kind of proposals he’ll have," calling it "a delicate moment."

Haq stated that he had discussed the plan with both sides and that he did not consider visiting Moscow first before Kyiv. I don't believe anyone can claim that he is pandering to one side in this.

Kuleba spoke one day after U.S. The meeting between Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zilenskyy was the highest-ranking American visit to Kyiv since the invasion by Russia on February 24th.

They informed Zelenskyy that the U.S. would provide foreign military financing in excess of $300 million and approved a $165million ammunition sale.

Kuleba was kind enough to praise the visit, calling them representatives of Ukraine's "the country that did more for Ukraine than any other country"

Kuleba was asked if the announcements were enough. He said, "as long Russian soldiers put a hand on Ukrainian soil. Nothing is enough."

Kuleba stated that "We are grateful for everything done, even by the United States." We understand that some people consider what has been accomplished a revolution. However, this does not mean that the war will stop.

"It's because Ukrainians don't want to be greedy. It's not that we want to grab the chance and get all we can. He said that it was because we have to win the war.

Kuleba stressed the importance of the West providing weapons quickly to Ukraine in order to win the war, and to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin going "deeper into Europe".

"You know that every conversation about weapons begins with us saying we need this.' The initial response is 'we don’t think you require exactly this. "... Let's reflect." He said.

"In the end we get what we need and then we can start getting it in sufficient amounts. It is now too late. This is the most important issue and we shared our views with American counterparts, as well as with other countries. Get moving quickly.

While Russia and Ukraine have been in talks about ending the war since its inception, Kuleba stated that he believed anything less than talks between Zelenskyy or Putin would not bring any resolution.

Kuleba stated that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was not ready to have a serious conversation with him.

He said that Russia was not ready to negotiate "solutions."

Kuleba stated, "But if they change their attitude and are willing to seriously seek out mutually acceptable solutions," Kuleba agreed.

He said, "The earlier President Putin meets with President Zelenskyy the closer it will be to the moment of the ending of the war,"

"I can't guarantee anything, but I trust my president. I know he is prepared to have that conversation, and he knows how negotiate. Kuleba stated that President Putin will be more focused on the war scenario if he tries to escape this meeting for longer.

He reiterated Zelenskyy’s view that an escalation of Mariupol would jeopardize Russian negotiations.

"We sent a clear message: If they want to kill them or take them in as prisoners and humiliated, it will be done. He said that this would be the "red line". It's not enough to leave things as they are. It is vital to evacuate them all, in order to save them.