Leaked Pentagon files indicate the United States was monitoring United Nations chief Antonio Guterres because it believed he was too soft on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
The documents appear to reveal private communications between Guterres and his deputy that focused on a Black Sea grain export deal, which, according to the leaked papers, the UN secretary-general was eager to preserve and willing to accommodate Russian interests to make happen.
“Guterres emphasised his efforts to improve Russia’s ability to export, even if that meant working with sanctioned Russian entities or individuals,” the leaked US document said.
Ukraine and Russia signed the export deal in July. They committed to allowing the export of grain, fertiliser and other farm goods across the Black Sea while they are at war. Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mediated the talks, which they said would help ease a global food crisis.
During discussions in February, Guterres was “undermining broader efforts to hold Moscow accountable for its actions in Ukraine”, the leaked document alleged.
Another US document from mid-February said Guterres expressed “dismay” after a call with Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, in which she said the European Union intended to increase its production of weapons and ammunition for Ukraine.