Russia is ready to guarantee the safety of ships leaving Ukrainian ports, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reported. This is possible in cooperation with Turkey, Lavrov said after a consultation with his Turkish colleague Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Lavrov has travelled to Ankara to talk about Ukrainian grain exports, which have been affected by the Russian invasion. The consultation did not result in a breakthrough. Russia believes Ukraine should remove mines in the Black Sea. The countries accuse each other of its placement.
Grain transport through the Black Sea has come to a standstill due to a Russian blockade, resulting in food shortages. Food prices are also rising as the sale of Russian grain has been curtailed by international sanctions against the country. Cavusoglu called Russia’s demand to end sanctions to help grain on the world market “legitimate”.
Turkey has offered to escort ships from Ukrainian ports at the request of the United Nations, despite the presence of mines in the Black Sea. The Turkish government is also talking to Ukrainian authorities about grain.
Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky previously said Kyiv had discussed with Turkish and British authorities the idea of involving a third country in the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea. The navy of that third country should guarantee the safe passage of ships.
More than 20 million tons of grain are trapped in Ukraine as a result of the war with Russia, Kyiv previously reported. According to Zelensky, this could even rise to 75 million tons in the autumn. Ukraine and Russia together produce 30 percent of the world’s grain stock.