UN Chief to Meet Zelenskiy, Erdogan in Ukraine on Thursday

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a joint news conference with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 28, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters)
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a joint news conference with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 28, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters)
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UN Chief to Meet Zelenskiy, Erdogan in Ukraine on Thursday

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a joint news conference with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 28, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters)
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a joint news conference with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 28, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Ukraine on Thursday, a UN spokesman said, and on Friday visit the Black Sea port of Odesa, where grain exports have resumed under a UN-brokered deal.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday that Guterres would meet Zelenskiy in Lviv in western Ukraine and discuss the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, along with finding a political solution to the conflict with Russia.

Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for shelling near the eastern Ukraine nuclear plant, which Russian forces took over in the early stages of their Feb. 24 invasion. The plant is still being operated by Ukrainian technicians.

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

On Saturday, Guterres will visit the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul, which is made up of Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN officials overseeing the Black Sea exports of Ukraine grain and fertilizer.

Three Black Sea ports were unblocked last month under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv, brokered by the United Nations and Türkiye, making it possible to send hundreds of thousands of tons of Ukrainian grain to buyers. The United Nations said the deal aims to ease a worsening global food crisis.



NATO Chief Says the Alliance Is Adapting Its Nuclear Arsenal to Security Threats

 NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
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NATO Chief Says the Alliance Is Adapting Its Nuclear Arsenal to Security Threats

 NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)

In a rare reference to the Western nuclear arsenal, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday highlighted the alliance's efforts to adapt its capabilities to current security threats, taking note of Russia latest nuclear rhetoric and drills.

Talking to reporters before a two-day NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels that will include a gathering of the alliance's nuclear planning group, he called nuclear weapons NATO's "ultimate security guarantee" and a means to preserve peace.

While it is well known that the US has deployed nuclear bombs to several locations in Europe, NATO rarely talks about these weapons publicly.

Discussing what he called "the ongoing adaptation" of NATO's nuclear arsenal, Stoltenberg said the Netherlands in June declared the first F-35 fighter jets ready to carry nuclear arms and said the US was modernizing its nuclear weapons in Europe.

He described increasing Russian activity around its nuclear capabilities. "What we have seen over the last years and months is a dangerous nuclear rhetoric from the Russian side.... We also see some more exercises, nuclear exercises on the Russian side," he said.

On Tuesday, Russia said its troops had started the second stage of drills to practice the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons alongside Belarusian troops after what Moscow said were threats from Western powers.

Since sending thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said Moscow could use nuclear weapons to defend itself in extreme situations.

Russia accuses the US and its European allies of pushing the world to the brink of nuclear confrontation by giving Ukraine billions of dollars worth of weapons, some of which are being used against Russian territory.

Stoltenberg also referred also to the modernization of China's nuclear weapons, saying Beijing was expected to boost the number of nuclear missiles within a few years and many of them would be able to reach NATO territory.