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UN chief Guterres visits Odesa, calls for full access to Ukrainian grain

By RFI
Europe AP - Kostiantyn Liberov
AUG 19, 2022 LISTEN
AP - Kostiantyn Liberov

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says more needs to be done to ensure full global access to Ukrainian food products and Russian food and fertilisers on a visit to the Black Sea port of Odesa.

Speaking on Friday at briefing in Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odesa, Guterres said developing countries needed help to purchase grain and called for unimpeded access to global markets for Russian food and fertilisers which are not subject to sanctions.

"This is an agreement between two parties locked in bitter conflict. It is unprecedented in scope and scale. But there is still a long way to go on many fronts," he said.

"It is time for massive and generous support so developing countries can purchase the food from this and other ports – and people can buy it," he added.

Calls to keep Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant running

During his visit, Guterres also asked that the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station not be cut off from Ukraine's grid, following Ukrainian reports that Moscow was planning to do so.

The UN chief remarked: "Obviously the electricity from Zaporizhzhia is Ukrainian electricity ... This principle must be fully respected."

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was seized by Russian troops in March and recent fighting around it has raised the spectre of a nuclear incident comparable to Chernobyl.

On Friday, Kyiv accused Moscow of planning to cut electricity produced in Zaporizhzhia.

According to Ukrainian energy operator Energoatom, "there is information that Russian occupying troops are planning to shut off the reactors and switch them from the output lines of the Ukrainian energy system."

The operator also warned Russia was limiting staff access to the site.

Last week Energoatom said Russian forces were planning to re-route Zaporizhzhia's electricity to Crimea, that was annexed by Moscow in 2014.

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