While russia destroys the Grain Initiative, strikes at Ukrainian ports and tries to make money on rising food prices, Ukraine and the European Union should make every effort to facilitate food exports from Ukraine, in particular by maximising the capacity of alternative transport corridors, the Solidarity Lanes.
This was stated by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday, 20 July, at a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, which he attended via videoconference from Islamabad, Pakistan.
“russia’s goal is not only to harm Ukraine, but also to enrich itself by raising food prices. russia has destroyed the Grain Initiative, is attacking Ukrainian ports and maritime export infrastructure, and at the same time is increasing its own supply of grain on world markets. In other words, they are trying to eliminate Ukraine as a competitor from the market with missile attacks on the Initiative and ports, forcing end buyers, bread consumers in Asia and Africa, to pay for their withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and to finance the russian war machine,” he said.
The Minister called on EU member states to actively work together to deprive russia of leverage over Ukrainian maritime exports. The ideal scenario, he said, would be a complete end to the russian naval blockade of Ukrainian ports. This will be possible when Ukraine receives its first F-16 squadrons, which will be able to patrol the skies and sea lanes. The Minister expressed his gratitude to those EU countries that were already actively contributing to the aviation coalition and called for all procedures to be implemented as soon as possible.
“Today, Ukraine has proposed to the UN and Turkey to continue the work of the grain corridor in a trilateral format, including ship inspections at the Joint Coordination Centre. We await their response. I urge you to support our request in your interaction with the UN and the Secretary-General,” he said.
Dmytro Kuleba stressed that all alternative ways of exporting Ukrainian grain should now be working at full capacity and expanding, and that statements about any restrictions were unacceptable.
“In the current circumstances, it is necessary to open all the doors instead of keeping some of them closed,” the Minister said.
He outlined Ukraine’s specific proposals to increase the capacity of transport corridors, including a call to jointly develop the Danube cluster, as well as the Adriatic and Baltic transport corridors.