UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will start a difficult three-day trip to Russia and Ukraine on Tuesday amid criticism for the limited role played by the United Nations in the management of the crisis.
Three months into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, UN agencies are struggling to reach civilians under siege in the east of the country, where humanitarian assistance is sporadic.
Meanwhile the UN Security Council, where Russia is one of five permanent members with veto power, has failed to pass any resolutions condemning the war.
Guterres may want to use this trip to revitalise the UN initiative in the humanitarian field, experts said, while staying away from more controversial political questions. “Guterres will try to provide a new momentum for the UN to play a role for humanitarian access in the evacuation of civilians, especially from Mariupol, and in a broader context to allow better access of UN and other humanitarian agencies to the conflict zones,” said Jean-Marc Rickli, head of Global and Emerging Risks at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.