Moscow Breaks Talks Over Wheat Shipments
By demanding to de-mine as a precondition for safe food shipments, Russia stopped another round of negotiations over food shipments via ports it is blocking with warships and submarines.
Putin's strategy of stopping food exports from Ukraine elevated global food prices. On Wednesday, it became clear that the blockade may remain after Kremlin Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanding removing explosives from all Ukrainian ports, thus easing the Russians for its paratroopers to land, a requirement Kyiv cannot accept.
Turkish efforts to ease a global food crisis by negotiating safe passage for grain stuck in Black Sea ports met resistance as Ukraine said Russia was imposing unreasonable conditions and the Kremlin said free shipment depended on an end to sanctions.
The war between Russia and Ukraine, the world’s third and fourth largest grain exporters respectively, has added to food price inflation and put global food supplies at risk.
Russia has seized large parts of Ukraine’s coast in nearly 15 weeks of war and its warships control the Black and Azov Seas, blocking Ukraine’s farm exports and driving up the cost of grain.
EU: Russia is solely responsible for global food crisis
Ukraine and the West accuse Moscow of weaponising food supplies. Russia says Ukrainian mines laid at sea and international sanctions on Moscow are to blame.
Regarding Russian offers to ease exports of grain, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said: “Swearing that it does not want a food crisis, but destroying Ukrainian grain terminals. Does anyone pay attention to the Kremlin’s promises?”
Mr. Michel said he had seen millions of tons of grain and wheat stuck in containers and ships at the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odessa several weeks ago. Russian attacks on transport infrastructure and grain-storage facilities, as well as tanks, bombs and mines are also preventing Ukraine from planting and harvesting, Mr. Michel said.
This is driving up food prices, pushing people into poverty and destabilizing entire regions,” Mr. Michel said. Russia is solely responsible for this looming food crisis. Russia alone, he added.
Speaking alongside his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said talks on Wednesday in Ankara were fruitful and restarting Ukrainian grain exports along a sea corridor was reasonable.