UN chief has trilateral meeting with Ukrainian, Turkish presidents in Lviv



UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on Thursday.

Issues including grain exports, security of nuclear plants and Ukraine's reconstruction were discussed during the meeting.

At a press conference after the meeting, the leaders hailed the success of a UN-brokered agreement allowing the passage of ships from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports and said they discussed ways to improve the deal. Guterres said 21 ships had departed from Ukrainian ports under the deal in less than a month, and 15 vessels had left Istanbul for Ukraine to load up with grain and other food supplies.

Guterres said the signatories to the agreement had worked professionally and in good faith to keep the food flowing. "Getting food and fertilizer out of Ukraine and Russia in larger quantities is crucial to further calm commodity markets and lower prices," he noted.

When referring to the security of Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Guterres said military equipment and personnel should be withdrawn from the nuclear power plant held by Russia and the site needs to be "demilitarized."

"The facility must not be used as part of any military operation. Instead, agreement is urgently needed to re-establish Zaporizhzhia's purely civilian infrastructure and to ensure the safety of the area," Guterres said.

Zelenskyy said he agreed to the parameters of a mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

However, Ivan Nechaev, deputy director of the Information and Publishing Division of Russian Foreign Ministry, said Guterres' proposal was infeasible as Ukraine organized multiple provocations and was unable to control its socialist groups."

Erdogan said the leaders discussed using the positive atmosphere created by the UN-brokered grain export deal to establish lasting peace. He also urged efforts to end the Russia-Ukraine crisis through diplomatic means, and said Türkiye will provide all necessary help to re-build Ukraine.