Ukraine’s Zelenskyy holds talks with UN chief, Turkish leader

LVV, Ukraine (AP) — Turkey’s president and the UN chief met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday in an effort to end the six-month war. Nuclear power plant.

The meeting, held far from the front lines in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv near the Polish border, marked Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s first visit to Ukraine since the outbreak of war and his second UN visit. .

Erdogan positioned himself as a mediator in efforts to stop the fighting. While Turkey is a member of NATO — which supports Ukraine in the war — its faltering economy relies on Russia for trade, and the country has tried to steer a middle course.

In the meetings, Turkey agreed to help rebuild Ukraine’s infrastructure, including roads and bridges, and Zelensky asked Guterres to seek UN access to Ukrainian citizens deported to Russia, according to the Ukrainian president’s website. Zelensky also requested the UN’s help in freeing captured Ukrainian soldiers and doctors.

Meanwhile, on the battlefield, at least 11 people were killed and 40 wounded in Russian missile attacks in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, Ukrainian officials said.

The Russian military said it attacked a foreign mercenary base in Kharkiv, killing 90 people. There was no immediate comment from the Ukrainian side.

Escalating international tensions, Russia sent warplanes carrying sophisticated hypersonic missiles to the Kaliningrad region of the country, which is surrounded by two NATO countries.

The agenda of the three leaders includes the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. Moscow and Kiev have accused each other of shelling the compound, and the fighting has raised fears of a nuclear holocaust.

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In his late-night video address on Wednesday, Zelensky reiterated his demand that the Russian military leave the plant, insisting that only “full transparency and control of the situation” could guarantee nuclear safety by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency.

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Earlier this month, Erdogan met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia to discuss the fight. Last month, Turkey and the UN brokered agreements to help Ukraine export 22 million tons of corn and other grains for food and fertilizer to world markets.

The war has significantly worsened the global food crisis, with Ukraine and Russia being major suppliers of grain. Developing countries are particularly hard hit by shortages and high prices, and the UN has declared many African countries at risk of famine.

Nevertheless, only a drop of Ukrainian grain exports has been contracted. Turkey’s Defense Ministry said more than 622,000 tons of grain had been shipped from Ukrainian ports since the agreement was reached.

Discussions about the overall outcome of the war, which has killed untold thousands and forced more than 10 million Ukrainians from their homes, are not expected to yield anything substantial.

In March, Turkey hosted talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators in Istanbul, but efforts to end hostilities failed, with both sides blaming each other.

Erdogan is engaged in a delicate balancing act, maintaining cordial relations with both Russia and Ukraine. Turkey has supplied drones to Ukraine, which played a significant role in halting Russian advances early in the conflict, but it has not joined Western sanctions against Russia in the war.

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Turkey faces a major economic crisis, with official inflation near 80%, and is increasingly dependent on Russia for trade and tourism. Russian gas accounts for 45% of Turkish energy needs, with Russia’s nuclear power company building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant.

Sinan Ulgen of the Istanbul-based think tank EDAM characterized Turkey’s diplomatic policy as “pro-Ukraine rather than anti-Russian”.

“Turkey believed that it did not have the luxury of completely alienating Russia,” Ulgen said.

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Suzan Fraser reports from Ankara, Turkey. Robert Patentic contributed from Istanbul.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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