Visit Kyiv, UN Secretary General Criticizes Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
Kyiv, Ukraine —
Antonio Guterres came to discuss with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy the extension of the delivery period for wheat supplies from the war-torn country as well as the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
“The sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine must be upheld within internationally recognized boundaries,” Guterres said before his talks with Zelenskyy.
“Our ultimate goal is just as clear: a just peace based on the UN Charter, international law and the recent General Assembly resolution marking one year since the start of the war,” he said.
But with fighting continuing with no sign of peace talks, Guterres said the United Nations was trying to “mitigate the impact of the conflict, which has caused the Ukrainian people so much suffering, with enormous global repercussions.”
He called for the continuation of Ukrainian wheat shipments through the Black Sea with Russia’s approval. He said that since last July, 23 million tons of wheat had been exported from Ukrainian ports, most of it going to poor countries. But without a new agreement, the program will end on March 18.
Guterres said wheat exports had “contributed to lowering world food prices and providing much-needed assistance to people who are also paying a high price for this war, particularly in developing countries.
develop. Indeed, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index has fallen by almost 20% over the past year.”
“Ukraine and Russia’s food and fertilizer exports are important for world food security and food prices,” he said.
Guterres also called for the “complete demilitarization” of the area around the Zaporizhizhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, where fighting around it has led to periodic plant shutdowns and raised fears of a nuclear disaster.
Months of efforts to end the war in the region have failed, but Guterres said safety and security around the plant was critical for the facility to return to normal operations. [rd/jm]