Turkey, which is negotiating with Russia to secure safe routes for grain exports from blocked Ukrainian seaports, is not powerful enough to act as a guarantor, the director of Ukrainian grain traders union UGA Serhiy Ivashchenko said on Wednesday.
He told an online grain conference in Kyiv that it could take at least two-to-three months to remove mines from Ukrainian and that the Turkish and Romanian navies should be involved.
“Turkey as a guarantor is an insufficient force in the Black Sea to guarantee the safety of cargo,” Ivashchenko said, adding that no talks were taking place about a discount for Ukrainian grain exported via the Black Sea.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday in Turkey the onus was on Ukraine to solve the problem of resuming grain shipments by de-mining its ports.
Speaking alongside his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, Lavrov said he appreciated Turkey’s efforts in seeking ways to resolve the situation.
Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest grain exporters, and Western countries have accused Russia of creating the risk of global famine by shutting Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.
Moscow denies responsibility for the international food crisis, blaming Western sanctions.
Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy said this week Ukraine had discussed with Britain and Turkey the idea of a navy from a third country guaranteeing safe passage for Ukraine’s grain exports through the Black Sea. [Reuters]