President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine is not ready to consider the issue of exporting its own grain through Belarus.
“As for Belarus: this information is open. We were offered to go through Belarus by rail (to export grain). We even understand how much. But we understand why we were offered this. We are not yet ready to follow this format and help our ” friendly “neighbors,” Zelensky told reporters on Monday.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky says that neither he nor Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba were invited to a meeting in Ankara on June 8, which will, in particular, consider the issue of Black Sea shipping and which will be attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs RF Sergey Lavrov.
“I was not invited. The Minister of Foreign Affairs has not been invited to date,” Zelensky said during a conversation with reporters on Monday, answering a related question.
According to him, he discussed with Turkish President Recemop Tayyip Erdogan, among others, the issue of mediation by the Turkish side in unblocking Ukrainian ports.
“For us, it is important that we are ready to produce grain… For us (important – IF) that there is a safe corridor of ships – that this or that fleet of this or that state will ensure the export of this grain to us. That’s all. And here we talked both with Britain and Turkey. Turkey is now finding a format to give us guarantees… I think because of this they are meeting with the Russians so that Russia will give Turkey guarantees that nothing will happen to their ships. I think so. But, however, the details of their meeting are unknown to me yet,” Zelensky said.
The President also said that negotiations on the export of grain are being held with the UN, as well as with the Baltic countries and Poland – on the export of some volume by rail, but this direction is not a priority due to the long delivery times. Through Odessa ports, according to him, Ukraine can export 10 million tons of grain monthly. “If now we have 22-25 million tons blocked there, but in the fall we may already have 75. What are we going to do? Therefore, we won’t be able to do without ports,” Zelensky stressed.
When asked under what conditions Ukraine can go for demining the coast of Odessa ports and who should be the guarantor for the Ukrainian side to do this, he replied: “I consider the strongest guarantee is our appropriate weapons that will be deployed in the region, the unblocking of another corridor to the port for the export of grain”.
“We are working on this with specific states, with specific anti-ship systems. We are working and are already getting a little, I can already state. I think this is the best guarantee,” Zelensky added.
Representatives of Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN will gather in Istanbul in the coming days to discuss a plan of action on the situation around problems with grain exports, the Turkish Anadolu agency reports, citing its own data.
“The details of the road map will be discussed in the coming days during the meeting, which will be attended by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and UN representatives,” the statement said.
According to Anadolu, the meeting will consider issues related to “insurance and security of ships, as well as demining the region.”
The agency indicates that it is planned to create a coordination center in Istanbul, which “should allow sending about 20 million tons of grain and sunflower seeds from Russia and Ukraine to world markets.”
Pope Francis has called for the unblocking of grain exports from Ukraine, stopped due to the blockade of its seaports by Russian warships, since the lives of millions of people depend on food supplies, and it cannot be used as a weapon.
He made the corresponding appeal at a general audience on June 1, according to the website of the VaticanNews agency.
“The blockade of grain exports from Ukraine, on which the lives of millions of people depend, especially in the poorest countries, is a cause for great concern. I warmly appeal to do everything possible to solve this problem and guarantee the universal right to food. Please do not use grain, a staple food product as a weapon in war!” he urged.
As reported, on the eve of the leaders of the European Union called on Russia to lift the blockade of Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea, allowing the export of food, as well as the EU countries to facilitate the transportation of Ukrainian agricultural exports.
Poland has decided to temporarily not carry out veterinary control of feed of plant origin (including forage grain cargoes) in transit through its territory to third countries, which will allow Ukraine to export agricultural crops through the Rava Ruska-Werhrata border crossing.
The corresponding simplified grain export regime began to operate on May 31, Valeriy Tkachev, deputy director of the commercial work department of Ukrzaliznytsia JSC, wrote on Facebook on Tuesday evening.
“This means that such goods can be imported into Poland through any checkpoints – both railway and land. When imported, these goods will be subject only to customs border control. Thus, the transfer of wagons with grain cargo through the border crossing Rava Ruska – Verhrata is allowed . This will increase the export of grain from Ukraine!”, he wrote on the social network.
As reported, on May 17, Ukraine and Poland agreed on the possibility of transit of grain crops through joint border inspection posts, as well as on ensuring its rail transit through the border checkpoints Verkhrata – Rava Ruska, Medica – Shehyni and Krostsenko – Smolnitsa.
In addition to ensuring the possibility of transit of Ukrainian grain through Polish border checkpoints, the parties agreed to increase the number of Polish veterinary inspectors on the border with Ukraine to 19 people, as well as to change their work schedule to round-the-clock at the busiest border checkpoints.
Earlier, on May 11, the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development of Poland agreed to improve logistics capabilities at the joint border.
The EU is working on the creation of solidarity lines for the export of grain from Ukraine, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has said.
She has said that 20 million tonnes of wheat are stuck in Ukraine and must be taken out. Therefore, they have created and are working hard on solidarity lines that will make it possible to take out batches of this wheat through land routes and trains to their ports. This is not trivial and, of course, more tiring and more expensive, but it is necessary to take this grain out, von der Leyen said at a press conference following the Special Meeting of the European Council in Brussels on Tuesday.