Conflicts & War

Russia says ready to ensure safety of vessels leaving Ukrainian ports

Ankara, Jun 8 (EFE).- Russia is ready to ensure the safety of ships leaving Ukrainian ports, foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with Turkey’s top diplomat in Ankara on Wednesday.

In a meeting between Lavrov and Mevlut Cavusoglu, the Russian top diplomat said that Moscow would not attack seaports as long as Kyiv removed the mines from its Black Sea ports to allow safe shipping.

“We are ready to formalize (guarantees) one way or another,” Lavrov said in a joint news conference with Cavusoglu.

Lavrov added that these guarantees are backed by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

“President Putin has already publicly said that we guarantee the safety of these routes and we guarantee that if Ukraine agrees to demine the ports and let the ships out, we will not take advantage of this situation in the special military operation that is underway,” the Russian official explained.

Lavrov also said a meeting between Putin and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy was only possible if Moscow-Kyiv peace negotiations resumed.

Talks in Ankara were focused on how to get as many as 20 million tons of grain out of Ukrainian ports into international markets and avoid a looming global food crisis.

Turkey has full control over the straits of Dardanelles and Bosporus, which links the Mediterranean to the Black Sea.

At the request of the United Nations, Ankara has proposed to escort ships carrying food from the Ukrainian coast, despite the Russian invasion and the presence of mines.

“We are talking about a mechanism to be developed between the United Nations, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey. We believe that Turkey could apply that plan,” Cavusoglu said.

“(In the West) they say that there is no embargo on Russian agricultural products, but this is not enough. The security of ships and the banking sector must be made clear in that mechanism,” he added.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 disrupted deliveries to markets, pushing global food prices higher and threatening shortages in some countries heavily dependent on Ukrainian grain.

Before the war, Ukraine was among the world’s largest exporters of wheat.EFE


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