Erdogan warns of ‘another Chernobyl’ after talks in Ukraine

Published August 19, 2022
<p>TURKISH President Tayyip Erdogan (left), Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (centre) and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres meet in Lviv on Thursday.—AFP</p>

TURKISH President Tayyip Erdogan (left), Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (centre) and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres meet in Lviv on Thursday.—AFP

LVIV: 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 UN brokered deal, even as Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned of an impending nuclear disaster in Ukraine during his first face-to-face talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky since the invasion began.

“We are worried. We don’t want another Chernobyl,” Erdogan said during a press conference in the eastern city of Lviv, during which he also assured the Ukrainian leader that Ankara was a firm ally.

“While continuing our efforts to find a solution, we remain on the side of our Ukraine friends,” Erdogan said.

Guterres said he was “gravely concerned” about the situation at the plant and said it had to be demilitarised, adding: “We must tell it like it is — any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide”.

UN chief, Turkish president meet Zelensky; Ukrainian leader ‘surprised’ to hear of Russian peace overtures

Erdogan, who has major geopolitical rivalries with the Kremlin but maintains a close working relationship with President Vladimir Putin, met with the Russian leader less than two weeks ago in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

The Turkish leader along with Guterres were key brokers of a deal inked in Istanbul last month allowing the resumption of grain exports from Ukraine after Russia’s invasion blocked essential global supplies.

Ahead of the press conference with Zelensky, Ukraine’s port authority announced that the 25th cargo ship under the deal had departed for Egypt carrying 33,000 tonnes of grain.

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.

“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 Ukraines 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.

Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2022

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