Türkiye’s president on Thursday voiced concern over ongoing clashes around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine-Zamkuwire - Zamkuwire.com

Türkiye’s president on Thursday voiced concern over ongoing clashes around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine-Zamkuwire

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We don't want a new Chernobyl, says Turkish president

Türkiye’s president on Thursday voiced concern over ongoing clashes around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine.

“We expressed our concern about the ongoing conflict around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. We do not want to experience a new Chernobyl,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a news conference after a trilateral meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy and UN chief Antonio Guterres.

Erdogan, Zelenskyy and Guterres gathered in the Ukrainian city of Lviv to discuss steps to end the Ukraine-Russia war through diplomatic means and maintain a mechanism recently established for the export of Ukrainian grain to world markets.

“We also evaluated the possibilities of transforming the positive atmosphere created by the Istanbul agreement into permanent peace,” Erdogan said.

Türkiye, the UN, Russia and Ukraine signed a deal in Istanbul on July 22 to reopen three Ukrainian Black Sea ports for exporting Ukrainian grain stuck due to the war, which is now in its sixth month.

Erdogan said the entire world is feeling the “positive effects” of the agreement, which enabled the export of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea.

Since the first ship left a Ukrainian port on Aug. 1, approximately 625,000 tons of Ukrainian grain have been delivered to world markets through 25 ships, he said.

On his talks with Zelenskyy and Ukrainian officials, Erdogan said they discussed ties at the strategic partnership level, covering all dimensions and ways to advance cooperation and solidarity.

He also reiterated Ankara’s strong support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

He said Türkiye is working to end conflicts diplomatically, adding that Ankara has “stood by our Ukrainian friends and we continue to do so.”

Erdogan said he told Zelenskyy that Türkiye will provide the necessary support for reconstruction of Ukrainian infrastructure damaged in the war.

Türkiye has sent 98 humanitarian aid trucks to meet the urgent needs of Ukrainians, he said.

“We’ve been temporarily hosting nearly 325,000 Ukrainians. We’ve admitted a total of 1,507 people, including 1,099 orphans and 408 care staff, until conditions in Ukraine return to normal.”

War will end at the negotiating table

Erdogan called on the international community to assume greater responsibility in diplomacy between Russia and Ukraine.

“What matters is finding the shortest and fairest way to the negotiating table,” he said.

The Turkish president said he believes the war will eventually end at the negotiating table, a view shared by Zelenskyy and Guterres.

Discussions were also held on the exchange of prisoners of war, an issue to which Türkiye attaches “great importance,” he added.

“We’re ready to act as a facilitator or mediator towards the goal of reviving negotiations upon the parameters that took form in Istanbul,” he said.

Türkiye will discuss the outcome of these meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Russian side, he said.

Damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide

On the Zaporizhzhia crisis, UN chief Guterres said he is “gravely concerned” about the situation in and around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

“Common sense must prevail to avoid any actions that might endanger the physical integrity, safety or security of the nuclear plant. The facility must not be used as part of any military operation,” he stressed.

All military equipment and personnel should be withdrawn from the plant and the area needs to be demilitarized, he said.

“We must tell it like it is – any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide.”

Guterres said the landmark Istanbul grain deal was signed to help vulnerable people in every corner of the world.

“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 fertilizers,” said the UN secretary-general.

Guterres said he was pleased that the first UN-chartered vessel carrying Ukrainian wheat was on its way to people suffering from the “worst drought” in decades in the Horn of Africa.

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

Guterres said the UN will also continue to make all possible efforts to provide humanitarian support to Ukrainians in need.

Regarding the deadly July 29 attack that killed over 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war at a prison in Olenivka, Guterres said: “What happened there is unacceptable. All prisoners of war are protected under international humanitarian law.”

Kyiv, backed by its supporters including the US, has accused Russia of blowing up the facility to cover up evidence of alleged war crimes.

Moscow maintains that the attack was carried out by a missile launched from US-supplied long-range High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), a charge steadfastly denied by Ukraine.

Guterres said a fact-finding mission will investigate the incident.

“We will continue to work to obtain the necessary assurances to guarantee secure access to Olenivka and any other relevant locations,” he said.

Russia must end attacks, provocations

For his part, Zelenskyy called on Russia to “immediately withdraw” its troops from Zaporizhzhia “without any conditions.”

“At the same time, Russia must end all attacks and provocations,” he said.

“For peace talks to begin, Russia must first leave the occupied territories. Then we will see,” he added.

Zelenskyy hailed Türkiye and Erdogan for their “leading role” in the grain shipment deal that he said was “crucial for preventing a global food crisis.”

On the deal with Ankara for reconstruction of Ukrainian infrastructure, he said: “The realization of our goals will make both Ukraine and Türkiye stronger.”

The agreement was signed by Turkish Trade Minister Mehmet Mus and Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.

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