UN working cooperatively with both sides on Azovstal situation
The United Nations asserts that it is working with Kiev and Moscow to resolve the issues related to the Azovstal steel plant, where Ukrainian soldiers are holding out after the city was cleared of them.
The United Nations is working cooperatively with both Russia and Ukraine on the situation at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, spokesperson Farhan Haq said on Wednesday.
"We are working cooperatively with both the authorities in Russia and with the authorities in Ukraine," Haq told a briefing.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova had said there was evidence there were people at Azovstal unrelated to the Ukrainian forces, also dismissing accusations about Russia not allowing people to leave the plant in Mariupol calling them "lies."
"There was some military activity, and we want to make sure that that is halted in such a way that we can actually bring people to safety. We do not have those conditions on the ground as of this moment," Haq added.
The situation at the Azovstal plant, where the Ukrainian forces remaining in Mariupol are holding out, was among the key topics of Tuesday's talks in Moscow between UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Guterres headed West on Wednesday, to Kiev, to continue efforts on humanitarian issues related to the conflict.
The Russian Armed Forces had renewed their offer for nationalist Ukrainian militants and foreign mercenaries remaining at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol to halt their hostilities and lay down their arms on Wednesday.
Russian National Defense Center chief Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev cited Moscow's forces' humane principles as the reason behind the offer, underlining to the militants that they would be "guaranteed life" if they take the Russian offer and comply with Russia's conditions.
All of Mariupol's urban area has been cleared of Ukrainian troops, with more than 4,000 soldiers eliminated over the past day alone, the Russian Defense Ministry said less than two weeks ago.
The city has been a playground for Ukrainian provocations since the war broke out in the country on February 24. The Russian Defense Ministry had revealed that Ukrainian nationalists in Mariupol used about 150 civilians as human shields and opened fire against DPR fighters from behind the civilians' backs.