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UN secretary-general: Putin meeting ‘very useful’

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said in a new interview that his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow this week was “very useful” as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stretches into its third month.

“I think it was a very useful meeting,” Guterres told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “First of all … it was possible to tell President Putin the same things I say in New York or I’ll be able to say here in Kyiv, which means that the Russian invasion is against the charter of the United Nations, is a violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and that this war must end as quickly as possible.”

Guterres also said that he came away from the meeting with Putin with an agreement “in principle” allowing Ukrainian civilians to evacuate a steel plant in Mariupol.

“Let’s be clear, President Putin agreed with me in principle that we would have — with the support of the U.N. and the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross — the evacuation of those civilians into the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government,” Guterres told Cooper.

“We have been working on the details. At the present moment they are being discussed in Moscow between the Ministry of Defense and our people.”

Guterres arrived in Kyiv on Thursday to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in his effort to end the ongoing conflict between the two countries.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, has killed thousands on both sides and forced about 5.3 million refugees to flee Ukraine.

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