The head of the World Health Organization said on Thursday via Twitter that he spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about Russia's role in global health matters and the situation in Ukraine.

"I requested safe access to Mariupol, Kherson, Southern Zaporizhzhia & other besieged areas to deliver health aid. Civilians must be protected," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on his Twitter feed.

(Reporting by Emma Farge Editing by Paul Carrel)