Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (right) talk during a press conference after their bilateral meeting at the European Union headquarters in Brussels on Dec 16, 2021. (JOHN THYS / AFP)
KYIV – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday he held a phone conversation with Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Jens Stoltenberg to discuss Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration.
Zelensky said he coordinated further steps with Stoltenberg on Ukraine's path toward integration with NATO.
Ukraine does not conduct direct negotiations with Russia over the extension of a key grain exports deal, but is involved in a dialogue with Türkiye and the United Nations within the negotiating groups, said Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak
Stoltenberg also tweeted that NATO will sustain and step up support for Ukraine for "as long as it takes."
On Sept 30, Zelensky said that Ukraine would apply for membership in NATO under an accelerated procedure.
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Grain exports deal extension
Separately, Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Mykhailo Podolyak said that Kyiv is holding talks over the extension of a key grain exports deal, which expires next month, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported Wednesday.
Ukraine does not conduct direct negotiations with Russia, but is involved in a dialogue with Türkiye and the United Nations within the negotiating groups, Podolyak said.
Describing the talks as "difficult", Podolyak voiced his hope that Ukraine will manage to extend the mandate on exporting grain from its ports.
On July 22, Ukraine and Russia separately signed a deal with Türkiye and the United Nations in Istanbul to resume food and fertilizer shipments from Ukrainian ports to international markets via the Black Sea.
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Since the deal came into effect on Aug 1, a total of 274 vessels carrying 6.2 million tons of agricultural products departed from Ukrainian ports for the countries in Asia, Europe and Africa, according to Ukraine's Infrastructure Ministry.
The agreement is due to expire on Nov 19.