Ukraine's President Zelensky, Turkish President Erdogan to meet UN chief in Kiev

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Ukraine's President Zelensky, Turkish President Erdogan to meet UN chief in Kiev

This combination of pictures shows L-R Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as he holds a press conference in Kyiv on June 16, 2022, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he speaks during a signature ceremony on the safe transportation of grain and food from Ukrainian ports in Istanbul on July 22, 2022, and UN Secretary-General Ant nio Guterres as he attends a press conference on August 6, 2022 in a hotel in Hiroshima. The United Nations announced that they will meet in Ukraine on August 18, 2022. OZAN KOSE, LUDOVIC MARIN, PHILIP FONG AFP LVIV, Ukraine UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will meet Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, with grain exports and concerns about the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

The trilateral meeting marked Erdogan's first in-person meeting with Zelensky since the start of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine on February 24. In recent months, the Turkish leader has met Russian President Vladimir Putin twice.

The three leaders are going to hold a joint news conference after their meetings in Lviv, an important transit point for Ukrainian refugees heading west to Europe since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

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Guterres, who arrived in Lviv on Wednesday afternoon, plans to visit the Black Sea port of Odesa on Friday, where grain exports have resumed under a UN-brokered deal aimed at easing the worsening global food crisis.

The following day he will be in Istanbul to meet the Joint Coordination Centre, which is made up of Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN officials who oversee the Black Sea exports of Ukraine grain and fertilizer.

Erdogan's office said that he would address ways to increase grain exports, and steps that could be taken to end the war between Ukraine and Russia through diplomatic means.

The Turkish president will talk about all aspects of bilateral relations between Ankara and Kyiv during his meeting with Zelensky, his office said.

Turkiye criticized the Russian invasion and provided Ukraine with arms, including drones, while refusing to join the West in imposing sanctions on Russia, a position it says has helped its mediation efforts reap results.

Another important topic will be the worrying situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in eastern Ukraine, which Russian forces took over in the early stages of their special operation in Ukraine. The Ukrainian technicians are still working on the plant.

Ukraine and Russia blame each other for shelling near the nuclear plant.

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This week, the Russian ministry said that Guterres, who visited Ukraine in April, discussed the conditions for safe operation of the nuclear plant with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

The United Nations said it could help facilitate a visit by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to Zaporizhzhia from Kyiv, but Russia said any mission through Ukraine's capital was too dangerous.