We all need to ensure access to Ukrainian products, – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Today, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has arrived in Odesa to visit the seaport from where caravans of ships with foodstuffs leave through the “grain corridor”. The spokesperson for the Odesa Regional Military Administration Serhiy Bratchuk wrote on Telegram and shared a short video.

“UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is visiting Odesa for the first time in history,” Bratchuk said.

In Odesa, Guterres continued negotiations with Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov. Among other participants in the talks were the Head of the Odesa Regional Military Administration Maksym Marchenko, Odesa Mayor Hennady Trukhanov, and other officials.

The UN Secretary General noted the importance of providing access to both Ukrainian and Russian products:

“We all need to ensure access to Ukrainian and Russian products. It’s not easy, but no initiative is easy. This is an agreement between two sides in a war. This is unprecedented, but there is still room to move on many fronts. Get more food and fertilizer from Ukraine and Russia is important for the markets of goods and prices.”

Guterres also expressed regret that the significant capacity of the port of Odesa is not fully utilized:

“I hope to be able to return soon and see that all the terminals are full and that the city is full of life.”

According to Kubrakov, 10 vessels are ready for loading in three ports of the Odessa region:

“We are expecting that we will be able to receive 40 requests for additional ships to call at the port of Odessa. Therefore, I am pleased to report that the initiative is working.”

Furthermore, Antonio Guterres has stated that Russia has no right to disconnect the Zaporizhzhia NPP from Ukraine’s power grid, as the energy produced by the plant belongs to Ukraine:

“Obviously the electricity from Zaporizhzhia is Ukrainian electricity… This principle must be fully respected.” 

Earlier, Ukraine’s nuclear power plant operator Energoatom said in a statement that the Russian invaders were preparing to shut down the ZNPP and disconnect it from Ukraine’s power grid.

During a meeting in Lviv on Thursday, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that Russian troops must immediately withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia NPP.

As of August 17, a total of 24 ships carrying more than 600,000 tonnes of agricultural products left Ukrainian ports as part of the implementation of the Initiative on the Safe Transportation of Grain and Foodstuffs.

On August 20, the UN Secretary-General will leave Odesa for Istanbul at the invitation of President Erdogan, where he will visit the Joint Coordination Center.

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