Kuleba calls on EU to urgently expand all available routes for Ukrainian grain exports

Kuleba calls on EU to urgently expand all available routes for Ukrainian grain exports

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has called on the European Union and EU countries to urgently expand all available routes for Ukrainian grain exports.

He said this at a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council in which he took part via video link from Islamabad, Ukrinform reports, citing the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's press service.

"While Russia destroys the Grain Initiative, attacks Ukrainian ports and tries to make money on rising food prices, Ukraine and the European Union should make maximum efforts to simplify food exports from Ukraine, particularly by increasing the capacity of alternative transport corridors 'Solidarity Lanes' as much as possible," Kuleba said.

He noted that Russia's goal is not only to cause damage to Ukraine, but also to enrich itself at the expense of rising food prices.

"Russia has destroyed the Grain Initiative, is attacking Ukrainian ports and infrastructure involved in sea exports, and at the same time is increasing its own supply of grain on world markets. In other words, they are trying to eliminate Ukraine from the market with missile strikes on the initiative and ports competitor, making the final buyers and consumers of bread in Asia and Africa pay for their exit from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and finance the Russian military machine," he said.

Kuleba called on EU member states to actively work together to deprive Russia of leverage over Ukrainian maritime exports. According to him, the best scenario would be a complete end to Russia's naval blockade of Ukrainian ports. This will be possible when Ukraine receives the first F-16 squadrons that will be able to patrol the skies and sea lanes.

The minister thanked the EU countries that already make an active contribution to the jets coalition and called on them to implement all procedures as soon as possible.

"Currently, Ukraine has offered the UN and Turkey to continue the work of the grain corridor in a trilateral format, including inspections of ships in the Joint Coordination Center. We are waiting for their response. I call on you to support our request in your interaction with the UN and the Secretary General," he said.

Kuleba said that all alternative ways of exporting Ukrainian grain should now work at full capacity and that statements about any restrictions are unacceptable.

He voiced specific proposals from Ukraine to increase the capacity of transport corridors. In particular, he called for the joint development of the Danube cluster, as well as the Adriatic and Baltic transport corridors.

Read also: Russia's blockade of Black Sea routes requires strengthening solidarity lanes - Borrell

As Ukrinform reported earlier, on July 17, Russia announced its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative signed in Istanbul last July. On July 19, Russia launched a targeted air attack on grain terminals located at Ukrainian ports. The infrastructure of international and Ukrainian traders and carriers was damaged in the attack. In particular, 60,000 tonnes of grain were destroyed in the Chornomorsk port.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said the Russian strike on the Odesa port terminal proves that Ukraine is not the only target for Russia.

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