On Tuesday, April 26, at the now famous long table, a conversation between the UN secretary general and the Russian president took place in Moscow. This video in German is the only one that I could find on YouTube, showing the positions of both parties.
The UN Secretary General expressed concern over the situation in Ukraine, while emphasizing the need for a multilateral world order based on the UN Charter and international law. Antonio Guterres also presented the two proposals he had put forward the same day during his meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. These proposals concern humanitarian matters, including humanitarian corridors, in particular, for Mariupol residents, as well as setting up a humanitarian contact group in which the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Russia, and Ukraine would work together to discuss the situation in order to make these corridors truly safe and effective.
Putin’s response to allegations of an invasion of Donbass:
Regarding the invasion, I am well-versed in the documents of the International Court on the situation in Kosovo. In fact, I have read them myself. I remember very well the decision by the International Court, which states that when fulfilling its right to self-determination a territory within any state does not have to seek permission from the country’s central government in order to proclaim its sovereignty. This was the ruling on Kosovo, and this is what the International Court decided, and everyone supported it. I personally read all the comments issued by the judicial, administrative and political bodies in the United States and Europe – everyone supported this decision.
If so, the Donbass republics, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic, can enjoy the same right without seeking permission from Ukraine’s central government and declare their sovereignty, since the precedent has been created.
This was followed by the situation with the expression of their will by the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol. They acted in practically the same way as the people living in Kosovo – they made a decision on independence and then turned to us with a request to join the Russian Federation. The only difference between the two cases was that in Kosovo this decision on sovereignty was adopted by Parliament whereas Crimea and Sevastopol made it at a nationwide referendum.
After we recognized the independence of these states, they asked us to render them military aid because they were subjected to military actions, an armed aggression. In accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter, Chapter VII, we were forced to do this by launching a special military operation.
The Azovstal plant has been fully isolated. I have issued instructions, an order to stop the assault. There is no direct fighting there now. Yes, the Ukrainian authorities say that there are civilians at the plant. In this case, the Ukrainian military must release them, or otherwise they will be doing what terrorists in many countries have done, what ISIS did in Syria when they used civilians as human shields. The simplest thing they can do is release these people; it is as simple as that.
You say that Russia’s humanitarian corridors are ineffective. Mr Secretary-General, you have been misled: these corridors are effective. Over 100,000 people, 130,000–140,000, if I remember correctly, have left Mariupol with our assistance, and they are free to go where they want, to Russia or Ukraine. They can go anywhere they want; we are not detaining them, but we are providing assistance and support to them.
The civilians in Azovstal, if there are any, can do this as well. They can come out, just like that. This is an example of a civilized attitude to people, an obvious example. And anyone can see this; you only need to talk with the people who have left the city. The simplest thing for military personnel or members of the nationalist battalions is to release the civilians. It is a crime to keep civilians, if there are any there, as human shields.
You may or may not agree with this argument. An interpretation should always be possible according to the recipient’s own beliefs. But how would you react to Putin’s position while his position is hidden from you?
When media censors believe that only a one-sided account of events is correct, they mistake the recipients of their messages for idiots who cannot think for themselves. As we know, they have been effective in many cases…
Author of the article: Marek Wojcik