Sep 15 2022 11:28 am
After a phone call with UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the Russian President welcomed the constructive and close cooperation between Moscow and the United Nations. The situation at the nuclear plant in Zaporozhye was also discussed.
As the Kremlin said in a statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone call with UN Secretary-General António Guterres yesterday, Wednesday. Global food security, the so-called “grain deal” and the conflict in Ukraine were the focal points of the conversation.
The UN wants to extend the grain deal concluded at the end of July to four months. Simultaneously with this agreement, an agreement was signed with Russia on facilitating grain and fertilizer exports. The two agreements are formally independent, but are regarded as complementary.
Guterres informed Putin about the measures taken by the UN to lift all restrictions on the export of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers. Moscow and the UN agreed to further close cooperation to ensure international food security, the statement said. The situation surrounding the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, the largest of its kind in Europe, which is located in Ukraine but has been controlled by Russian troops since the beginning of March, was also discussed.
Moscow has repeatedly accused Kyiv’s armed forces of shelling the site with artillery and warned that such actions could lead to a Chernobyl-sized nuclear disaster. Kyiv has consistently denied these allegations, instead blaming Russia for the shelling of the facility, although it is difficult to see why Russian troops would fire at themselves.
In this context, Putin welcomed the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) aimed at contributing to the safety of the plant and informed Guterres about the measures that Russia itself has taken to ensure the safety of the plant. The IAEA dispatched a team of inspectors to the facility on September 1.
Putin and Guterres also discussed a UN fact-finding mission to investigate last July’s attack on a detention center for Ukrainian prisoners of war.
Moscow blamed Kyiv for the attack on the camp near the settlement of Yelenovka in the Donetsk People’s Republic, which killed 50 prisoners of war and wounded another 73, some seriously. Kyiv also denied this accusation, claiming that Russian troops launched the attack. As a result, experts from the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross were invited by the Russian Defense Ministry to conduct an impartial on-site investigation. According to the Kremlin statement, Guterres has assured Putin that the UN is still actively preparing for the mission.
As for the conflict in Ukraine as a whole, António Guterres, after his talks with Vladimir Putin, currently sees no hope of peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv in the near future.
“It would be naïve to say that we are close to a peace agreement,” Guterres said at a news conference in New York. Although the United Nations is ready at any time to work towards a diplomatic solution in any respect, the chances of this are currently “minimal”.
The general debate of the UN General Assembly will begin next week at the United Nations in New York. President Putin will not attend and will instead be represented by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. A speech by President Vladimir Zelenskiy is said to be planned for Ukraine – it was initially unclear whether he would deliver it personally in New York or via video link.
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