UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Ukraine on Thursday, a United Nations spokesman has said.
“At the invitation of President Volodymyr Zelensky[y], the secretary-general will be in Lviv on Thursday to attend a trilateral meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and the Ukrainian leader,” Guterres’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday.
Dujarric said the trio will visit on Friday the Black Sea port of Odesa, where grain exports have resumed under a UN-brokered deal.
On July 22, Russia and Ukraine signed a landmark deal with the UN and Turkey on resuming grain shipments in an attempt to ease a global food crisis in which millions face hunger.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov each signed separate but identical agreements with UN and Turkish officials on reopening blocked Black Sea delivery routes.
Dujarric said Guterres would meet Zelenskyy in Lviv in western Ukraine and discuss the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and also discuss “the need for a political solution to the conflict”.
Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for shelling near the eastern Ukraine nuclear plant, which Russian forces took over soon after their February 24 invasion. The plant is still being operated by Ukrainian technicians.
The UN has said it can help facilitate a visit by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to Zaporizhzhia from Kyiv, but Russia said any mission going through Ukraine’s capital is too dangerous.
The risk of disaster at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – Europe’s largest – is “increasing every day”, the mayor of the city where the facility is located has said.
On Saturday, Guterres will visit the Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul, which is made up of Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN officials overseeing the Black Sea exports of Ukraine grain and fertiliser.
Three Black Sea ports were unblocked last month under the UN-backed deal, making it possible to send hundreds of thousands of tonnes of Ukrainian grain to buyers.