UPDATE – U.N. chief seeks ‘spirit of compromise’ over Ukraine grain initiative

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LVIV, Ukraine, Aug 18 (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Russia and Ukraine on Thursday to show a “spirit of compromise” to ensure the continued success of a U.N. brokered deal that enabled Ukraine to resume grain exports from its Black Sea ports.

Guterres said after talks in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv that 21 ships had departed from Ukrainian ports under the deal in less than a month, and 15 vessels had left Istanbul for Ukraine to load up with grain and other food supplies.

A handout photo made available by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) welcoming UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (L) in Lviv, Ukraine, 18 July 2022. Zelensky welcomed Turkish President Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Guterres for talks on improving the grain initiative and the situation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. EPA-EFE/UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE HANDOUT

“Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, I have been clear: There is no solution to the global food crisis without ensuring full global access to Ukraine’s food products and Russian food and fertilisers,” he told reporters in Lviv. 

“But it is only the beginning. I urge all parties to ensure continued success.”

He said the signatories to the agreement had worked professionally and in good faith to keep the food flowing.

“I appeal for this to continue and for them to overcome all obstacles in a spirit of compromise and permanently settle all difficulties,” he said, adding that initiatives in conflict situations are “inherently fragile” and must be constantly nurtured. 

Under the July 22 framework deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, Ukraine was able in early August to resume exports from its Black Sea ports, which had been stalled for five months because of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion.

“Meanwhile – and critically – we have seen signs that global food markets are beginning to stabilise,” Guterres said. “But let’s have no illusions – there is a long way to go before this will be translated into the daily life of people at their local bakery and in their markets.” 

“Getting food and fertiliser out of Ukraine and Russia in larger quantities is crucial to further calm commodity markets and lower prices,” he said.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal, Writing by Timothy Heritage; Editing by Tom Balmforth)

Erdogan says he discussed ways to end Ukraine conflict with Guterres, Zelenskiy

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday he discussed possible ways of ending the war between Ukraine and Russia in a trilateral meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy and U.N. chief Antonio Guterres.

Speaking after the meeting in Ukraine’s Lviv, Erdogan said they discussed using the positive atmosphere created by a U.N.-brokered grain export deal to establish lasting peace. 

He also said they discussed the exchange of prisoners of war between Ukraine and Russia, and that he would later raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

“We attach great importance to this issue…of what happened to the exchange of these captives,” Erdogan said.

A handout photo made available by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Service shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) welcoming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) in Lviv, Ukraine, 18 July 2022. Zelensky welcomed Turkish President Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Guterres for talks on improving the grain initiative and the situation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. EPA-EFE/UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE HANDOUT

Earlier – Ukraine says fighting ‘deadlocked’ ahead of UN chief visit

Ukrainian forces said on Thursday they had beaten back a Russian attack in the southern region of Kherson, while shelling by Kremlin forces in Kharkiv in Ukraine’s north killed seven people as the near six-month war grinds on with no let up in fighting.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan later on Thursday in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

They will discuss finding a political solution to the conflict with Russia and address the threat to global food supplies and risk of a disaster at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which has been taken over by Russian forces.

The war has caused millions to flee, killed thousands and deepened a geopolitical rift between the West and Russia, which says the aim of its operation is to demilitarise its neighbour and protect Russian-speaking communities.

“Russian forces have achieved only minimal advances, and in some cases we have advanced, since last month,” Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said in a video. “What we are seeing is a ‘strategic deadlock.'”

Russian bombardments in a residential area of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, on Wednesday evening killed seven people and injured 16, the Ukrainian Emergencies Service said.

“This is a devious and cynical strike on civilians with no justification,” Zelenskiy said on the Telegram messaging app.

In the south, Ukrainian forces routed an attempted advance by Russian forces near the town of Bilohirka, northeast of Kherson, Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said.

The south district of the Operational Command of the Ukrainian armed forces said Ukrainian forces killed 29 “occupiers” as well as destroying artillery, armoured vehicles and a military supply depot.

via Reuters

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