Ukraine enlists Turkish support against Russia and asks UN to protect nuclear plant

Ukraine enlists Turkish support against Russia and asks UN to protect nuclear plant

Members of a rescue team inspect the rubble of a hostel destroyed by a rocket attack in the city of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine on August 17, 2022 afp_tickers This content was published on August 18, 2022 – 02:50 Aug 18, 2022 – 02:50 (AFP)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky this Thursday enlisted the support of his Turkish counterpart against Russia, calling on the UN to ensure “the security” of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, occupied by the Russians and a target of bombing attacks.

“While we continue our efforts to find a solution [al conflicto]we stand by our Ukrainian friends,” said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a meeting with Zelenskyy in Lviv (western Ukraine).

Zelenskyy regarded Erdogan’s visit as a “strong message of support from such a powerful country” and ruled out a peace agreement without the Russian troops withdrawing first.

“People who kill, rape, bomb civilians in our cities with cruise missiles every day cannot want peace,” he said after Erdogan assured Russia was “ready for some kind of peace.”

“What first [los rusos] Leave our territory and then we’ll see,” said Zelenskyy.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Erdogan has acted as a mediator. Although he condemned the offensive, he wanted to remain neutral and refused to join the sanctions imposed on Moscow by Western countries.

-Nuclear “suicide”-

In Lviv, Zelenskyi also met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who expressed “deeply concerned” about the situation at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant (in the south), which has been occupied by Russian troops since March and has been the target of Russian bombing raids. and Ukrainians blame each other.

“We have to say it like it is: any potential harm to Zaporizhia would be suicide,” Guterres warned.

Zelenskyy called on the UN to guarantee “the security of this strategic location” and accused Russia of pursuing a policy of “deliberate terror” that could have “catastrophic consequences for the whole world”.

Ukraine assures that Russia stores heavy weapons in the center, the largest in Europe, and from there bombs Ukrainian positions. She also accuses Russian troops of shelling sectors of the plant, attributing these bombings to Ukraine.

“We don’t want another Chernobyl,” Erdogan said, referring to the accident at this Ukrainian power plant in 1986, the worst in civilian nuclear history.

– increase grain exports –

Erdogan and Guterres were key brokers in the July deal between Moscow and Kyiv to resume grain exports across the Black Sea.

About 20 million tons of grain were blocked in the ports of the Odessa region due to the presence of Russian warships and mines laid by Kyiv to defend its coast.

According to the UN, between Aug. 1 and 15, 21 bulk carriers were authorized to depart, carrying a total of 563,317 tons of agricultural commodities, including 451,481 tons of corn.

In addition, the first UN-chartered humanitarian ship loaded with 23,000 tons of wheat left Ukraine for Africa on Tuesday.

The UN will try to further increase Ukrainian grain exports, which are crucial for the food supply of many African countries.

According to the World Food Program (WFP), 345 million people in 82 countries are acutely food insecure – a record number – and around 50 million people in 45 countries are at risk of starvation if they do not receive humanitarian assistance.

“We will do everything to intensify our operations and thus face the difficulties of the coming winter,” Guterres said after the meeting with Zelenskyy and Erdogan.

Fighting continues on the ground, leaving new civilian casualties in its wake. Ukraine reported at least six dead and 25 wounded in Russian shelling of Kharkiv (northeast) Thursday morning.

The day before, Kharkov had been the victim of bomb attacks in which 13 people died, according to local authorities.

Russian troops tried to reach Kyiv in the first weeks of the invasion but were repulsed and have since concentrated their operations mainly in the east and south of the country, supported by pro-Russian separatists.