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UN Chief Guterres calls to demilitarise Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant
Lviv: After holding trilateral talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ukraine's Lviv, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a demilitarization of the area around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant stating that any damage to the largest nuclear power station of Europe would be "suicide."
"In close contact with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN Secretariat has assessed that we have in Ukraine the logistics and security capabilities to support any IAEA mission to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant from Kyiv, provided both Russia and Ukraine agree. Military equipment and personnel should be withdrawn from the plant. Further deployment of forces or equipment to the site must be avoided. The area needs to be demilitarized," the UN Chief said in a statement after the trilateral meeting in Ukraine. The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), located in southern Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia region has become a regular site for shelling in Ukraine and Moscow and Kyiv have each accused the other of striking the compound on Thursday and over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Guterres also discussed the investigation of the tragic incident in a detention facility in Olenivka that took place on 29 July.
He said, "What happened there is unacceptable. All prisoners of war are protected under International Humanitarian Law," adding that the International Committee of the Red Cross must have access to them wherever they are kept as he decided to establish a Fact-Finding mission and appointed General Carlos dos Santos Cruz of Brazil to lead this mission. He was commander of UN peacekeeping operations earlier.
Reiterating that the UN will continue to work to guarantee secure access to Olenivka, Guterres said Ukraine can count on the support of the United Nations to promote human rights, international law and the cause of peace.
The UN Chief and Zelenskyy signed the Black Sea Grain Initiative in Istanbul a few weeks ago, which was a landmark agreement as a solution to the global food crisis.
Guterres highlighted that 21 ships have departed from Ukrainian ports and 15 vessels have left Istanbul for Ukraine in less than a month to load up with grain and other food supplies.
Moreover, the first UN-chartered vessel carrying Ukrainian wheat is also on its way to responding to the needs of people suffering from the worst drought in the Horn of Africa in decades.
Russia and Ukraine signed separate agreements in Istanbul in July with Turkey and the United Nations to resume grain shipments to international markets via the Black Sea.
The agreement has ended a wartime standoff that had threatened food security in several countries and cleared the way for exporting tons of Ukrainian grains. The deal will enable Ukraine to export 22 million tons of grain and other agricultural products that have been stuck in Black Sea ports due to the war.
Notably, Ukraine is regarded as the "breadbasket of Europe" supplying 10 per cent of the world's wheat, 12-17 per cent of the world's maize and half of the world's sunflower oil. Twenty-five million tonnes of corn and wheat - the entire annual consumption of all the least developed countries. (ANI)