Ukraine: Guterres expected in Odessa to unblock grain exports | War in Ukraine

Ukraine: Guterres expected in Odessa to unblock grain exports | War in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky flanked by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, right, following a meeting on Thursday. (Archives)

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is expected in Odessa on Friday after promising on Thursday to do everything to step up the recent unblocking of Ukrainian grain exports.

In the& #x27;is, the fighting continues in particular in the Donbass, a priority strategic objective of Moscow that its forces continue to pound and where 5 dead have been recorded in the last 24 hours in the province of Donetsk alone, according to the Ukrainian authorities.

In Odessa, Mr. Guterres will continue his visit to Ukraine, which began on Wednesday evening and was marked on Thursday by a meeting in Lviv (west) with Ukrainian Presidents Volodymyr Zelensky and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, devoted in particular to the thorny issue of exports of Ukrainian cereals.

During a joint press conference with MM. Zelensky and Erdogan, Mr. Guterres promised that the UN would work to intensify the resumption of these exports before the arrival of winter.

Grains grown in Ukraine, like here in Mariupol, are crucial to the food supply of many countries in Africa.

Stalled after the Russian invasion on February 24, which raised the specter of a global food crisis, exports have resumed after the conclusion, in July, of an agreement between Moscow and Kyiv , with the mediation of Mr. Erdogan.

They are crucial for the food supply of many countries in Africa, Ukraine being one of the main producers and world grain exporters.

As a result of the July agreement, 25 ships carrying more than 600,000 tons of Ukrainian agricultural products have passed through the grain corridor since this week from the ports of Odessa, Pivdenny and Chornomorsk, according to kyiv.

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Mr. Guterres welcomed the beginning of stabilization in agricultural markets since the agreement.

But there is still a long way to go before this translates into people's daily lives, in their bakeries and in markets, he nuanced, pointing to disrupted supply chains and costs. unacceptable energy and transportation.

“[There is a] global need to increase the number of vessels safely exporting Ukrainian agricultural products. Our State is ready to be and will be the guarantor of world food security.

—Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine

After Odessa, Guterres plans to travel to Turkey to visit the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) overseeing the implementation of the agreement signed in July.

In In the east, Russian shelling left at least 5 dead and 10 injured in several localities in the Donetsk region, one of the 2 provinces of Donbass, announced its governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, on social networks .

Russian artillery has been advancing slowly in recent weeks in Donbass, a region that was already before the current conflict, since 2014, partly in the hands of pro-Russian separatists, and which Moscow intends to completely conquer.

Shelling also hit Kharkiv (northeast), Ukraine's second largest city, early Friday, killing at least one person, according to local authorities. At least 12 other people had died in the same way in the area in the past two days, they said.

A strike hit a tram station in Kharkiv on Thursday, where shelling continues. (Archives)

Another subject of concern in recent days has been the safety of the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia (south), the largest in Europe.

Occupied by Russian forces since the beginning of March, it is the prey of bombardments of which Moscow and kyiv accuse each other mutually.

The risk of a nuclear accident caused by a firing on the plant feeds the concerns of international officials.

On Thursday in Lviv, Mr. Guterres warned that any damage there would be suicide, and Mr. Erdogan said he feared another Chernobyl, referring to the April 26, 1986 explosion of the plant's number 4 reactor, also located in Ukraine and from which a radioactive cloud had escaped which had spread throughout Europe.

Gravely concerned about this situation , the UN chief called for the plant to be demilitarized to prevent it from being used for any military operation.

A daycare center in Prypiat, Ukraine, following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. (Archives)

On Thursday, the Russian army strongly denied having deployed heavy weapons in and around the power plant, as kyiv has accused.

In the evening, an official of the pro-Russian occupation administration of the Zaporizhia region, Vladimir Rogov, accused Ukrainian forces of bombing Energodar, the town near the nuclear power plant.

In Russia, two villages were evacuated on Thursday in following a fire that broke out at an ammunition depot near the border with Ukraine, local authorities said.

This The fire comes a few days after explosions on a military base and an ammunition depot located in Crimea, a Ukrainian peninsula annexed in 2014 by Moscow. Russia has recognized the latter as sabotage.

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