UN Chief To Meet Putin As Russia Warns Of 'real' Threat Of World War Three

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As heavy fighting continues in eastern Ukraine, the United Nations chief will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday.

The talks between Putin and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres are expected to focus on the besieged southern port city of Mariupol. Russians are continuously pounding the Azovstal steel plant, Ukraine's last stronghold in the city, where hundreds of Ukrainian troops are hiding out.

Ukraine has urged the UN chief to guarantee a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians sheltering inside Azovstal.

After meeting Putin, Guterres will proceed to Ukraine capital Kyiv, where he is scheduled to meet President Volodomyr Zelensky on Thursday.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that the "real" threat of a World War III breaking out "is serious."

His Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba says Lavrov is trying to "scare the world off supporting Ukraine."

Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is hosting a meeting of the defense ministers of NATO and European Union countries at a U.S. Air Force base in Germany to discuss about providing further military assistance to Ukraine.

The General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces said they thwarted attacks by the Russian forces in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Alexei Arestovych, an advisor to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Russia is escalating offensive in the south and east of the country but is facing stiff resistance from Ukrainian forces.

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