In this file photo taken on May 1, 2022, a Russian serviceman patrols the territory of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in Energodar. (ANDREY BORODULIN / AFP)
LVIV, Ukraine – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Ukraine on Thursday, with grain exports and concerns about the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to top the agenda.
The trilateral meeting marks Erdogan's first in-person discussion with Zelenskiy since the Russia-Ukraine conflict began on Feb 24, although the Turkish leader has met Russian President Vladimir Putin twice in recent months.
The trilateral meeting marks Erdogan's first in-person discussion with Zelenskiy since the Russia-Ukraine conflict began on Feb 24, although the Turkish leader has met Russian President Vladimir Putin twice in recent months
The three leaders will hold a joint news conference after their meetings in Lviv, an important transit point for Ukrainian refugees heading west to Europe since the crisis started. Guterres, who arrived in Lviv on Wednesday afternoon, plans on Friday to visit the Black Sea port of Odesa, where grain exports have resumed under a UN-brokered deal aimed at easing a worsening global food crisis.
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On Saturday he will travel on to the Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul that is made up of Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN officials overseeing the Black Sea exports of Ukraine grain and fertilizer.
Three Black Sea ports were unblocked last month under a deal between Moscow and Kiev, brokered by the United Nations and Türkiye, making it possible to send hundreds of thousands of tons of Ukrainian grain to buyers.
Erdogan's office said he would address ways to increase exports of grain and steps that could be taken towards ending the conflict through diplomatic means.
Erdogan will also discuss "all aspects" of bilateral relations between Ankara and Kyiv during his meeting with Zelenskiy, his office said.
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Another key topic will be the worrying situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Ukraine and Russia have exchanged accusations over shelling the Zaporizhzhia plant, which generates a quarter of Ukraine's total electricity.
Guterres, who last visited Ukraine in April, this week discussed the conditions for safe functioning of the nuclear plant with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, the Russian ministry said in a statement.
The United Nations has said it can help facilitate a visit by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to Zaporizhzhia from Kiev, but Russia said any mission going through Ukraine's capital was too dangerous.