UN chief and Russia’s Putin discuss war in Ukraine

UNITED NATIONS (AP) – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he had spoken to Russian President Vladimir Putin about exporting Russian fertilizer through Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to combat the growing global food crisis in the face of several famines. be in danger

The UN chief said he also discussed security at Europe’s largest nuclear plant, where he said the bombing had stopped for the past three days, and prisoners of war.

“I believe the talks are still taking place,” he said. “I strongly hope that the problem of prisoners of war will be completely resolved, and I strongly hope that all prisoners of war on both sides will be exchanged.”

Guterres told a news conference that Putin said he had appointed a fact-finding mission at the request of Russia and Ukraine to investigate the killings at Olenivka prison in a separatist region of eastern Ukraine on July 29, “anything we can the way to get there”, and this is a very important aspect.” The warring nations accuse each other of carrying out the attack in which separatist officials and Russian officials said 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed and 75 wounded. Have become.

Guterres said the call to Putin was a follow-up to his meeting with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in Lviv on August 18 and regular calls to Andrey Yermak, the head of Zelensky’s office.

Putin is not attending the annual gathering of world leaders at the UN General Assembly next week, which Guterres said is taking place at a “time of great crisis”.

“Our world is plagued by war, plagued by climate anarchy, hurt by hatred, and ashamed of poverty, hunger and inequality,” the secretary general said.

The war in Ukraine is not only ravaging the country but dragging down the global economy, Guterres said, and hopes of a peace deal are “minimal”. He continued: “I would be lying if I said I hope it happens soon.”

Despite a July 22 deal to start shipping Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports and get Russian food and fertilizers to global markets, Guterres said, “this year is at risk of several famines.”

The Secretary-General said that high prices for fertilizer have already reduced the planting of food crops, which is why it is important to increase Russian exports of ammonia – a major component of fertilizers – and possibly negotiate through shipping. Black Sea port which is currently being used to send grain from Ukraine.

UN trade chief Rebecca Grinspan, who leads a team trying to facilitate free global access to Russian food and fertilizer, told reporters on Tuesday that Russia saw a 12% increase in food exports from June to July. registered, but fertilizer exports are still low. The settlement with insurance, financing and shipping is still ongoing.

Guterres said he discussed with Putin the “dramatic situation in fertilizer” and the obstacles to shipping ammonia from Russia.

“We are risking a shortage of the fertilizer market,” the UN chief said. “We have news from different parts of the world that cultivated areas are much smaller than in the previous cycle, which means we risk a real food shortage in 2022.”

“Therefore, it is absolutely necessary at the present time to remove the constraints that still exist with respect to the export of Russian fertilizers,” he said.

The July 22 grain deal expires in 120 days and Guterres said “a very important negotiation” is taking place between the United Nations and Russia, and between the United Nations and Ukraine, “and we’re not only trying to maintain the grain deal.” but also looking at expanding it.” And one example is possibly shipping Russian ammonia through the same Black Sea Channel as Ukrainian grain, he said.

The head of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Grinspan, said the planting season in the Northern Hemisphere requires fertilizer until the latest October and November.

On the issue of Europe’s largest Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog said on Monday he had begun consultations with Ukraine and Russia on their calls for a “nuclear security and security protection zone”. Is. Convenience, and both sides seem to be interested.

International Atomic Energy Agency director general Rafael Grossi said both sides are interested.

He made the offer last week after leading a team of inspectors at the nuclear plant and leaving two of them to oversee its safety. The plant is occupied by Russian forces, but since the beginning of the war it has been operated by Ukrainian employees.

The Zaporizhzhia plant was reconnected to Ukraine’s power grid over the weekend, allowing engineers to shut down its last operational reactor in an effort to avoid disaster as fighting raged in the area.

Guterres said that according to his latest information, electricity is being provided to guarantee the cooling of the reactors and other necessary electricity.

“We’ve been without a bombing for three days now,” he said.

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