UN Secretary-General António Guterres held a press conference Thursday (18 Aug) in Lviv, Ukraine, along with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Zelenskyy told journalists his country values the presence of the Secretary-General in Ukraine.

The Secretary-General reiterated that the United Nations will go on working in full solidarity with the Ukrainian people to mobilize all of our capacities and resources – alongside its national partners – to continue to provide humanitarian support to people in need, wherever it is required.

Guterres also underscored that the positive momentum on the food front reflects a victory for diplomacy and for multilateralism. Getting food and fertilizer out of Ukraine and Russia in larger quantities is crucial to further calm commodity markets and lower prices, Mr. Guterres said.

“It is essential to provide relief to the most vulnerable people and countries,” he added.

The Secretary-General said he had discussed the investigation of the tragic incident in a detention facility in Olenivka on 29 July. In relation to that, he announced that he intends to appoint General Carlos dos Santos Cruz of Brazil to lead a fact-finding mission.

In order for the mission to work, he told the press, it needs to have the necessary assurances to guarantee secure access to the site and any other relevant locations. To put it simply, the Secretary-General said, a fact-finding mission must be free to find the facts.

Guterres said he remains “gravely concerned” about the unfolding situation in and around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia.

“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. Instead, agreement is urgently needed to reestablish Zaporizhzhia as purely civilian infrastructure and to ensure the safety of the area”, the UN chief said.

Guterres also stated that “the area needs to be demilitarized” and that “any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide.”

The Secretary-General arrived in Lviv Wednesday evening, and, earlier on Thursday, he briefly visited the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv.

The President said, “Ukraine values your presence here on this territory, on our territory, as well as highly values your efforts to restore the international order that was undermined and due to the illegal Russian war against our country, as well as the Russian terror that has been taking place already for 176 days.”

The President of Türkiye, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, took the opportunity to reiterate “support for the Ukranian territorial integrity and sovereignty.”

The Secretary-General arrived in Lviv Wednesday evening, and, earlier on Thursday, he briefly visited the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, the Secretary-General noted the links between the United Nations and the university, adding that today, the contributions of civil society and of academia are increasingly essential in the development of modern democracies.  

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