To resume Ukrainian grain exports, Russia must first withdraw all its forces in the sea area around Ukraine and provide security guarantees against attacks on ports and commercial convoys.

This position was released by Oleg Nikolenko, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, commenting on the statement by Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov that “Russians will allow the passage of ships with grain if Ukraine demines ports.”

“After attacking Ukraine, Russia laid siege to Ukrainian seaports. The Russian army mined part of the sea area, makes continuous attempts to break through the defence of Odesa and other coastal cities from the side of the Black Sea… Russia must immediately unblock the Ukrainian seaports, stop shelling Odesa and other coastal cities, withdraw its navy to a distance that will make it impossible to attack merchant ships, and stop creating obstacles to international navigation,” Nikolenko stressed.

According to him, now about 22 million tonnes of grain remain stuck at Ukrainian ports and cannot reach consumers, in particular in Africa and Asia.

“Alternative land routes do not completely solve the problem as they have low capacity. In addition, Russia steals Ukrainian grain in the occupied territories to sell it illegally to third countries,” said the spokesperson for Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry.

He added that Russia’s actions could lead to a global food crisis and even famine in some regions.

Currently, Ukraine works together with partners to establish an international mission, in particular under the auspices of the United Nations, which will take over the functioning of maritime routes for the export of Ukrainian agricultural products.

The day before, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Matti Maasikas said that maybe the most blatant of the Russian lies concerns the looming food crisis. The diplomat underscored that Ukraine cannot export its grain because Russia has militarily blocked the Black Sea ports.

As a reminder, Russia actively uses food blackmail along with energy blackmail to achieve its geopolitical goals and get rid of at least part of Western sanctions.

At the same time, Russian propaganda disseminates a large number of fakes to drop the charges against Russia and undermine global support for Ukraine.

In particular, Russia’s fake narratives include the message that Ukraine allegedly sells its grain to pay for arms supplies, and that Russia prevents Kyiv from unleashing famine in Ukraine.

Bohdan Marusyak

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