Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of Turkey, had his first face-to-face talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began on Thursday. During those talks, Erdogan issued a warning that a nuclear disaster could occur in the country, echoing the pleas made by the head of the United Nations.
An escalation in hostilities near Europe’s largest nuclear facility, which is located in an area of southern Ukraine under Russian control, has prompted urgent warnings from world leaders. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, cautioned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during their conversation that any damage to the plant would be equivalent to “suicide.”
“We are quite concerned. We must take precautions to prevent another Chernobyl, “Erdogan made these remarks at a news conference in the city of Lviv, which is located in the country’s east. At the same time, he reassured the president of Ukraine that Turkey was a reliable friend.
Erdogan said that while they are continuing their attempts to find a solution, they would continue to stand behind their allies in Ukraine.
Guterres expressed his “deep worry” on the situation at the facility and said that it needed to be demilitarised. He also stated that “we must tell it like it is” and that any possible harm to Zaporizhzhia would be “suicide.”
Erdogan, who has huge geopolitical conflicts with the Kremlin but has a tight working relationship with President Vladimir Putin, met with the Russian leader less than two weeks ago in the resort town of Sochi, which is located on the Black Sea.
After Russia invaded Ukraine and cut off crucial supplies to the rest of the world, the Turkish leader and Guterres played major roles in the negotiations that led to the signing of an agreement in Istanbul last month that would enable grain shipments from Ukraine to resume.
Ahead of the news conference that was going to be held with Zelensky, the port authorities of Ukraine made the announcement that the 25th cargo ship that was part of the transaction had already sailed for Egypt carrying 33,000 tonnes of grain.
Grain prices skyrocketed as a result of the suspension in shipments from Ukraine and Russia, which are two of the world’s major exporters of grain. Concerns about global food shortages increased, especially in less developed nations that were already facing shortages.
During the discussion with the press, Guterres said that the parties wanted to step up their efforts to strengthen operations at the three southern ports that were earmarked for exports under the terms of the pact.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations praised the agreement that created a secure passageway for cargo ships to leave Black Sea ports and said that his organisation “will do our utmost to scale up our activities to meet… the approaching winter.”
The successful conclusion of the grain agreement stands in stark contrast to the collapse of peace negotiations in the early stages of the conflict. On Thursday, Zelensky ruled out the possibility of peace with Russia unless it first withdrew its soldiers from Ukraine.
Russian airstrikes have resulted in the deaths of seven people and the injuries of dozens more in the war-torn eastern province of Kharkiv.
At least six people were murdered and 25 others were wounded in the early morning bombardments that took place throughout the city of Kharkiv and surrounding Krasnograd. These attacks came only one day after Russian bombardments killed 13 people in the country’s second-largest metropolitan centre.
The governor of the province, Oleg Synegubov, published photographs taken at the site of one of the attacks in Kharkiv. The photographs showed the charred ruins of multiple buildings as well as the twisted wreckage of automobiles that had been struck nearby.
But in recent weeks, the violence has been concentrated on the southern province of Zaporizhzhia and the nuclear facility that is located there. After having direct discussions with Guterres in Lviv, Zelensky has requested that the United Nations safeguard the safety of the plant.
Suspicions of a nuclear mishap have been fueled by the fact that Russian soldiers have taken control of the Zaporizhzhia facility, which is located in the southern part of Ukraine. These fears are reminiscent of the Chernobyl tragedy, which occurred in 1986.
Moscow, on the other hand, has refuted the charges made by Ukraine on Thursday, stating that Russian soldiers have not placed heavy weaponry near Zaporizhzhia and accusing Kiev of planning a “provocation” there.
The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, said that the plant’s takeover by Russia “poses a severe danger,” and he also urged for a pullback by Russia and inspections by the IAEA.
On Friday, the Secretary-General of the United Nations is scheduled to fly to Odessa, one of the three ports that are participating in the grain exports pact.
After that, he will go to Turkey in order to pay a visit to the Joint Coordination Centre, which is the entity assigned with the responsibility of monitoring the deal.