In an interview with Spain’s El Pais, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres discussed his opinions regarding the war in Ukraine and said, “I believe that peace negotiations are not possible at this time,” as “both parties are convinced that they can win.”
Despite his pessimistic outlook, Guterres did note that “The most important initiative has been the export of grain from Ukraine and food products and fertilizers from Russia through the Black Sea.”
While Guterres sees the grain deal as a lone positive in a sea of negatives, the deal is on the brink of collapse. Russia has been threatening to end the Black Sea Grain Initiative on May 18, which would prevent Ukrainian corn and wheat from being exported by sea.
In addition to the grain deal possibly facing failure, pricing pressures in the region have forced the EU to ban Ukrainian agriculture exports to its neighboring countries of Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia until June 5. The ban also has the potential to be extended to year-end.
While the failure of the UN-Turkey brokered grain deal would cause food shortages globally for tens of millions of people, it would most affect individuals in the already struggling regions of the Middle East and North Africa. The UN has labeled the grain initiative “critical” to help “stave off famine.”
During the interview, Guterres explained the importance of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
This was a Russian invasion against international law, against the United Nations Charter, but I do not think Russia is willing at the moment to withdraw from teh territories it occupies, and I think Ukraine is hoping to retake them. What we are doing, as much as possible, is to dialogue with both parties to solve specific problems. The most important intiaitve has been the export of grain from Ukraine and food products and fertilizaers from Russia through the Black Sea.
Regarding the grain deal specifically, Guterres said, “We are completely engaged in trying to save the initiative.”
“It is a question of achieving an extension of the initiative that is more lasting and perfect,” he added.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State, Antony Blinken also gave remarks regarding the grain initiative in London on Monday.
Guterres went on to discuss the importance of China’s stance on the war regarding the use of nuclear weapons and said, “Zaporizhzhia is a big concern. I hope there is enough care on both sides to prevent a tragedy. And I think the possibility of a nuclear escalation is very small. The Chinese initiative was very important for stating very clearly that a nuclear escalation is unacceptable. The fact that China has taken that position is very important in avoiding a temptation that would be an intolerable absurdity.”
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarks during Tuesday’s Victory Day celebration were not indicative of peace.
“The globalist elites keep insisting on their exceptionalism; they pit people against each other, split societies, provoke bloody conflicts and coups, sow hatred. Russophobia and aggressive nationalism, destroy traditional family values that make human a human,” Putin said.
While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has shown a willingness to engage in peace talks recently, Putin appears to have no interest in coming to the negotiating table anytime soon.