Ukrainian President Volodomir Zelenski said Thursday that it is unrealistic to consider any peace negotiations with Russia while the invasion continues and the invading troops continue to kill Ukrainians.
Zelensky underlined this conviction after a meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The meeting was flanked by heavy security measures. The train station and several shopping malls had to be inspected for possible explosive devices after an anonymous tip.RELATED
The three topics that dominated the conversation were food security problems, the situation at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant and the lack of prospects for peace negotiations.
Erdogan described Ukraine’s grain export agreement as a success and recalled that 25 ships have already departed from the three Ukrainian Black Sea ports with almost 625,000 tons of grain on board.
Zelensky said progress in implementing the agreement was discussed, as well as ways to involve even more ships in the initiative.
In addition, he condemned the theft of Ukrainian grain and its resale by Russia, as well as the “nuclear blackmail” around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, occupied by Russian troops since March.
He added that Russia must “immediately and without further conditions withdraw its troops from the plant, stop all provocations and stop all bombing” of its territory.
Guterres said the UN was ready to support an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission as long as there were guarantees from Ukraine and Russia.
“The facility must not be used as part of any military operation. Instead, an agreement is urgently needed to restore Zaporizhia as a purely civilian infrastructure and ensure the security of the area,” Guterres said.
Guterres also announced the creation of a fact-finding mission, headed by Brazilian General Carlos dos Santos Cruz of Brazil, to inspect Olenivka, where more than 2,000 Ukrainian prisoners of war from Mariupol are being held.
The mission is to investigate the circumstances of the deaths of some 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war who died on July 29 in what their families called “a public execution by Russia.”
Guterres also called for the prisoners to be allowed access to the International Committee of the Red Cross, echoing the pleas of the families of soldiers who staged a demonstration near the Potocki Palace earlier that day.
Erdogan, for his part, called for “reactivating” the peace negotiations that took place in Istanbul last March and reiterated his availability as a mediator to reach an agreement for the exchange of prisoners of war.
He added that he would evaluate with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, the results of the trilateral conversation in relation to the possibility of carrying out this exchange.
Although Zelensky underlined that peace negotiations could only start after Russia withdraws its army from Ukraine, he stressed that his talk with Erdogan was very detailed and fruitful and that the issue of post-war reconstruction had been emphasized.
The Turkish president, who arrived in Lviv at noon after flying to the Rzeszow airport in Poland and traveling by road to the Ukrainian city where the summit took place today, will return to Ankara tonight.
Guterres is scheduled to visit Odessa, one of three Ukrainian Black Sea ports that are part of the grain export initiative, on Friday before flying to Istanbul to visit the initiative’s coordination center.
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