Conflicts & War

UN chief visits Odesa, regrets below capacity port use

Lviv, Ukraine, Aug 19 (EFE).- United Nations chief Antonio Guterres on Friday visited the Ukrainian Black Sea city of Odesa, one of the three sea ports being used to export grain under a UN-backed deal.

“It is very sad to see how the great capacity of this great port is not fully utilized. I am sad because the potential that this port, this city has for your country, for your region is not being realized,” said Guterres, as cited by the Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne.

He added: “I hope that I can come back soon and see that all the terminals are busy and that the city is full of life.”

The UN secretary general made the remarks during his three-day visit to Ukraine, his second since the Russian invasion began in late February.

He commented on the importance of ensuring Ukrainian and Russian food products can reach the global market.

“Getting more food and fertilizer out of Ukraine and Russia is crucial to further calm commodity markets and lower prices,” he added, according to a UN statement.

Guterres also touched upon the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Both Ukraine and Russia warned Friday about a possible provocation at the plant, which has been under Russian occupation since the start of March, yet continues supplying electricity to both the Ukrainian-controlled and Russian-occupied regions in the South of Ukraine.

“If the territory of the station had been demilitarized, the issue of shelling and the accusations of the Russian and Ukrainian sides would have already been settled. The electricity from the power station is Ukrainian, the Ukrainian people need it, especially during the winter period, and this must be observed.”

Guterres was accompanied in Odesa by Ukraine’s infrastructure minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov.

“Today, 10 ships are ready to be loaded in the three ports of Odesa. We expect to be able to receive 40 requests for more ships to go to the port of Odesa. So I am happy to report that the initiative is working,” said the minister.

On the previous day, Antonio Guterres visited Lviv, where he met with the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

They agreed to continue coordination in the implementation of the grain initiative and also discussed the situation in and around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and the need to ensure that Ukrainian prisoners of war are treated fairly by Russia.EFE


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