The AP Interview: Kyiv wants UN to seek Mariupol evacuation

Apr 25, 2022, 11:16 AM | Updated: 11:39 pm
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba arrives for an interview with Associated Press at the Fore...

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba arrives for an interview with Associated Press at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Kyiv, Monday, April 25, 2022. Ukraine’s foreign minister is urging U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres to press Russia for an evacuation of the besieged port of Mariupol when he visits Moscow on Tuesday. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Associated Press in an interview Monday such a move “is really something that the U.N. is capable to do.” (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

(AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s foreign minister on Monday urged the U.N. chief to press Russia for an evacuation of the besieged port of Mariupol, calling it something the world body is capable of achieving.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Associated Press in an interview he was concerned that by visiting Moscow on Tuesday before traveling to Kyiv, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres could be vulnerable to falling into a Kremlin “trap” in the war.

“Many other foreign officials were trapped visiting Moscow and played around just to show the supremacy of Russian diplomacy and how great they are and how they dictate the world how to behave,” he said.

Guterres “should focus primarily on one issue: evacuation of Mariupol,” Kuleba said, referring to the the seaside city where an estimated 100,000 people are trapped while a contingent of Ukrainian fighters hold out against Russian forces in a steel mill where hundreds of civilians also are taking shelter.

“This is really something that the U.N. is capable to do. And if he demonstrates political will, character and integrity, I hope that will allow us to make one step forward,” he said.

In New York, deputy U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said Guterres would be bringing many initiatives and suggestions, adding, “I don’t want to give too many details at this stage of the sort of proposals he will have,” calling it “a fairly delicate moment.”

As for going to Moscow before Kyiv, Haq said the itinerary was worked out with both sides and there was “no particular significance in him visiting one country ahead of the other. …I don’t think anyone can say that he is being, as you had put it, pandering to a side on this.”

Kuleba spoke a day after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, the highest-level American visit to the capital since Russia invaded on Feb. 24.

They told Zelenskyy the U.S. would provide more than $300 million in foreign military financing and had approved a $165 million sale of ammunition.

Kuleba praised the visit and called them representatives of “the country that did more than any other country in the world” for Ukraine.

Asked whether the new announcements went far enough, Kuleba said that “as long as Russian soldiers put a foot on Ukrainian soil, nothing is enough.”

“We appreciate everything that has been done, including by the United States,” Kuleba said. “We understand that, for some, what has been done is already a revolution, but this is not enough as long as the war continues.

“It’s not because Ukrainians are greedy, it’s not because we want to grasp the opportunity and get as much as we want. No, it’s because we need to win this war,” he said.

Kuleba emphasized the need for the West to speedily provide weapons needed by Ukraine to win the war and stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from going “deeper into Europe.”

“You know, every conversation about weapons starts with us saying ‘we need this.’ And the initial answer is ‘we don’t think you need exactly this. … Let us reflect on it.’ It takes some time for partners to reflect, but the problem is that the war continues here,” he said.

“In the end, we do get what we need, and then we start getting it in sufficient quantities. But time has been lost. This is the main issue that needs to be addressed, and we were very open with our in particular American counterparts and also with other countries on that. Start doing things fast.”

Although Ukraine and Russia have held talks on ending the war since its early days, Kuleba said he thought anything lower than discussions between Zelenskyy and Putin would bring little resolution.

On his Russian counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Kuleba said: “I don’t think he’s ready for a serious conversation.”

He added that he didn’t think Russia is ready to find “solutions at the negotiating table.”

“But if I see that they change this attitude and they are ready to seriously look for mutually acceptable solutions, I will overcome my disgust and sit down with him and talk,” Kuleba said.

“The sooner President Putin agrees to meet with President Zelenskyy, the more likely it will be to bring the moment of the end of the war closer,” he added.

“I don’t give a 100% guarantee, but I have confidence in my president. I understand that he’s prepared for that conversation and he knows how to negotiate. The longer President Putin escapes this meeting, the (more) likely it is that he is focused entirely on the war scenario,” Kuleba said.

He reiterated Zelenskyy’s position that an escalation in Mariupol would ruin chances of negotiating with Russia.

“We sent a very clear message: If you want to kill those people or you want to take them in as prisoners and humiliate, that will be it. That will be the red line,” he said. “But it’s not enough to keep things as they are. It’s really important to evacuate all of them, to save them.”

Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer in New York and journalist Inna Varenytsia in Kyiv contributed.

Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol delivers a speech during a news conference to mark his first 1...
Associated Press

South Korean leader: Seoul won’t seek own nuclear deterrent

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said Wednesday his government has no plans to pursue its own nuclear deterrent in the face of growing North Korean nuclear threats, as he urged the North to return to dialogue aimed at exchanging denuclearization steps for economic benefits. In a news conference in […]
22 hours ago
Former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a news conference in Sydney, Wednesda...
Associated Press

Former Australia PM says secret powers were needed in crisis

SYDNEY (AP) — Scott Morrison said Wednesday that giving himself extra powers when he was Australia’s prime minister was necessary during the coronavirus crisis as criticism rose the moves were deceptive and undemocratic. Current Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is seeking an opinion from the solicitor-general on the legality of some of Morrison’s moves. Many of […]
22 hours ago
A buoy sits high and dry on cracked earth previously under the waters of Lake Mead at the Lake Mead...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: Winners, losers in water cuts for Western states

WASHINGTON (AP) — People in Arizona and Nevada won’t face bans on watering their lawns or washing their cars despite water shortages on the Colorado River. But officials said Tuesday there will still be less water available next year from the river that serves 40 million people in the West and Mexico. Observers say a […]
22 hours ago
FILE - Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was a lawyer for former President Donald Trump, spe...
Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani set to testify in Georgia election probe

ATLANTA (AP) — Rudy Giuliani is scheduled to appear in an Atlanta courthouse to testify before a special grand jury that is investigating attempts by former President Donald Trump and others to overturn his 2020 election defeat in Georgia. It’s unclear how much the former New York mayor and attorney for Trump will be willing […]
22 hours ago
FILE - An Afghan woman holds her children as she waits for a consultation outside a makeshift clini...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: Dueling views remain a year after Afghan pullout

WASHINGTON (AP) — A year after America’s tumultuous and deadly withdrawal from Afghanistan, assessments of its impact are divided — and largely along partisan lines. Critics slam the August 2021 evacuation of more than 120,000 American citizens, Afghans and others as poorly planned and badly executed. They say the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces opened […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

‘The Butler’ author Wil Haygood wins prestigious book award

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Writer Wil Haygood, author of multiple nonfiction books chronicling the lives of 20th-century Black Americans including “The Butler,” has won a prestigious book award. The Dayton Literary Peace Prize announced Wednesday that Haygood — himself originally from Columbus, Ohio — will receive the Ambassador Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. “For […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
The AP Interview: Kyiv wants UN to seek Mariupol evacuation