UN chief praises Black Sea grain deal as General Assembly convenes over Ukraine
Despite ongoing challenges, initiative to ship grain, other foodstuffs from Ukraine is making a difference, says Antonio Guterres
The UN chief said Wednesday that the Black Sea Grain Initiative has shown the possibility of Ukraine and Russia to advance global food security with the support of the government of Türkiye and the UN.
As the UN General Assembly convened for a special session to discuss the Ukraine war ahead of its first anniversary, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said they have worked in concerted and creative ways to forge a solution.
“Russia can end this aggression. Russia can end the war which it began,” said Guterres.
Reminding that the UN helped evacuate civilians in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, he continued: “The Black Sea Grain Initiative has shown the possibility of Ukraine and Russia to advance global food security, with the support of the government of Türkiye and the United Nations.”
“Despite ongoing challenges, the initiative to ship grain and other foodstuffs from Ukraine is making a difference,” he said.
The UN chief also commended the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for “engaging the sides to ensure the area remains safe.”
“Meanwhile, we have heard implicit threats to use nuclear weapons. The so-called tactical use of nuclear weapons is utterly unacceptable,” he added.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, for his part, said that Russia still wants to destroy Ukraine, adding: “No one should be fooled by Russia’s empty calls for negotiations.”
He stressed that there are not “two equal sides” in the war in Ukraine.
“There is an aggressor and the victim.”
“I understand that there are still some countries that do not want to take Ukraine’s side for various reasons,” Kuleba said.
“But it’s not about that. It’s about taking the side of the United Nations Charter.”
Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, accused Western countries of conducting an “anti-Russia propaganda campaign.”
He defined the campaign as an intentional attempt to “confuse people and hide the real reasons for the conflict.”
Speaking ahead of a vote on a draft resolution on achieving lasting peace in Ukraine, US Representative to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield urged all of the member countries to “vote against any and all hostile amendments that seek to undermine the UN Charter.”
“I urge you instead to vote ‘yes’ in support of this resolution,” she added.