Ukraine war: Guterres, Erdogan hold talks with Zelenskiy
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan have held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Lviv, Ukraine, on ways to end the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he, Guterres, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy discussed building on a recent positive atmosphere to revive peace negotiations with Russia that took place in Istanbul in March.
Turkey, a NATO member, has maintained good relations with Russia, an important trade partner, and sought to mediate the conflict, which began six months ago.
“Personally, I maintain my belief that the war will ultimately end at the negotiating table.
“Mr. Zelenskiy and Mr. Guterres have the same opinion in this regard,” Erdogan said.
The talks also focused on plans to secure Europe’s largest nuclear power station, as Russia and Ukraine traded accusations of new shelling near the plant.
Guterres expressed concerns about circumstances at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and called for military equipment and personnel to be withdrawn.
The U.N Chief reiterated his call for demilitarisation around the nuclear plant.
“The facility must not be used as part of any military operation. Instead, the agreement is urgently needed to re-establish Zaporizhzhia’s purely civilian infrastructure and to ensure the safety of the area,” Guterres said.
Russia has described international calls for a demilitarised zone around the nuclear plant as “unacceptable”.
Ukrainian engineers are still operating the plant despite the Russian occupation.
Zelenskiy said after meeting Guterres that they had agreed on parameters for a possible mission to the plant by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“Russia should immediately and unconditionally withdraw its forces from the territory of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, as well as stopping any provocations and shelling,” Zelenskiy said.
The Zaporizhzhia power station sits on the Russian-controlled south bank of a huge reservoir in Enerhodar; Ukrainian forces hold the north bank.
Russia and Ukraine traded accusations through the night of shelling civilian areas near the power station, as they have done for days.
Ukraine also accuses Russia of using the plant as a shield for its forces to launch strikes across the reservoir on Ukrainian-held cities, which Russia denies.