MOSCOW, April 26 (CGTN) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed "in principle" to the involvement of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross in the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal steel plant in Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the UN said on Tuesday.

During a meeting in Moscow, Putin and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres discussed the proposals for humanitarian assistance and evacuation of civilians from conflict zones, namely in relation to the situation in Mariupol, where Ukraine claims thousands of civilians and its troops remain holed up in the Azovstal plant.

Putin said that Moscow will invariably support the UN because it regards the organization as a universal institution.

"Russia, as one of the founders of the United Nations and a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has always supported this universal organization. We believe that it is not just universal, but unique in a sense. There is no other organization like it in the international community," Putin said at the meeting with Guterres, TASS reported.

"We support in every possible way the principles on which the organization was founded and we are going to do so in the future," Putin said.

Putin also said Moscow has not refused to hold talks with Kyiv and hopes to reach agreements diplomatically.

"Although the military operation is in progress, we still hope that we will be able to achieve agreements on the diplomatic track. We are holding negotiations. We do not reject them."