Ukraine: “No grain will go anywhere” unless Ukraine’s security is ensured

Ukraine: “No grain will go anywhere” unless Ukraine’s security is ensured

This is the truth of it.

Ukraine and the western media has been blaming Russia but now, some of the truth comes out. I am posting articles on this from two days.

Members of the African Union have been in Moscow talking to Putin

Ukraine sets condition for resuming grain exports

“No grain will go anywhere” unless Ukraine’s security is ensured, a senior official has said
Ukraine sets condition for resuming grain exports

Ukraine will resume grain exports only when its own security is ensured, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Alexey Danilov said on Tuesday as the Russian military offensive continues in his country.

Speaking on national TV, Danilov recalled a statement by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs “which clearly said that the first issue is security, the second issue is security, the third issue is security.”

“If this issue is not resolved, and the security of our country is not ensured, no grain will go anywhere. Because for us the issue of security is the number one priority,” Danilov stated, without specifying what exactly he meant by the term “security.”

At the same time, he claimed that “this issue is under control” and made clear that the Ukrainian authorities remember their obligations.

“Nobody wants the world to be hungry,” he stressed.

Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of impeding grain exports. Kiev and its Western supporters claim that, by blocking Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, Russia is aggravating the global food crisis. Moscow has rejected such claims, saying it is ready to ensure safe passage for grain-carrying vessels and that the disruption stems from extensive mining of the shoreline by the Ukrainian military.

Danilov accused Russia of “artificially creating” obstacles for its own benefit, of shifting responsibility and “blackmailing” Europe.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Ukraine and the West are trying to portray a “minor issue” with Ukrainian grain as a “universal catastrophe.” He also claimed that the Ukrainian authorities, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, have shown unwillingness to start the process of unblocking the ports. Lavrov stressed that if Kiev is now ready to clear the shoreline of mines, Russia would be happy to cooperate and is even ready to provide written guarantees that it “will not use this situation in the interests of the ongoing special military operation.”

Russia attacked its neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

Grain burned by Ukrainian nationalists – Moscow

Russia says a large granary in the port of Mariupol has been deliberately destroyed
Grain burned by Ukrainian nationalists – Moscow

The Russian Defense Ministry has accused Ukrainian “militants of the nationalist battalions” of deliberately setting fire to a large granary in Mariupol’s sea port while fleeing from Russian forces.

According to a statement, issued on Wednesday, the alleged act of arson was down to the unwillingness of the “militants” to leave grain supplies to Mariupol’s residents. As a result, according to the military, more than 50 thousand tons of grain were destroyed.

This inhuman crime demonstrates to the entire world community the ‘true face’ of the Kiev regime, which, in fact, uses the methods of food terrorism against its own people,” it claimed.

The ministry said the destruction was committed as the “so-called civilized West” continues to support Kiev while accusing Russia of stoking a global food crisis.

The Defense Ministry stressed that Russian forces during their “special military operation” support the civilian population, treat it humanely and “do not strike at the social infrastructure of the country, unlike the Ukrainian armed formations.”

Since the launch of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, Moscow and Kiev have accused each other of various war crimes, while denying their own liability.

The Donetsk People’s Republic authorities reported earlier that the firefighters failed to save the grain stock despite several days of efforts.

There is a large amount of grain on the territory of the Mariupol port, this is both corn grain and wheat. Judging by the smell and appearance, it is unsuitable for further use, most of it,” an aide to the government of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Yan Gagin, told RIA Novosti.

The global food market, already affected by climate change and the Covid pandemic, has been badly affected by the Russian military offensive in Ukraine, as the two countries account for about 30% of global wheat exports. Russia is also the world’s largest exporter of fertilizers.

While the West has accused Russia of causing a surge in food prices by continuing its military operation, Moscow maintains that the real cause of the food crisis is the “politically motivated” Western sanctions against it.

Ukraine has repeatedly accused Moscow of “stealing” its stockpiles of wheat and sending it overseas. The spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric, however, said the United Nations is unable to verify these claims.

Ukraine and Western states have repeatedly accused Moscow of impeding grain exports by blocking Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Russia has rejected such claims, maintaining it is ready to ensure safe passage for grain-carrying vessels from the ports. The disruption of grain flow stems from Kiev’s own actions and extensive mining of the shoreline by the Ukrainian military, Moscow insists.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

Four routes to export grain from Ukraine

Safe passage of ships is necessary for shipping grain of Ukraine

MOSCOW, June 8. /TASS/. Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations are negotiating ways to resolve the issue of blocked grain supplies from Ukraine. To that end, Turkey is ready to create a so-called grain hub in Istanbul.

Safe passage of ships is necessary for shipping grain of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin came up with several variants of solving the problem and expressed readiness to assist the process. However, Kiev insists that Russian troops should be withdrawn before the deliveries can begin.

Global prices for wheat and corn have increased significantly since the start of the year. The UN Security Council declared during its May 21 session that the world has enough wheat for ten weeks, and forecasts are worse than during the crisis years of 2007 and 2008.

Below are the possible routes and scenarios that make grain deliveries from Ukraine possible.

Via Berdyansk and Mariupol

– According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia is ready to create “the required logistics” and ensure easy transportation of grain from the ports of Berdyansk and Mariupol “without any preconditions.”

– Peaceful transportation and guaranteed safe passage to the ports, as well as security of navigation via the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov is among Russia’s possible guarantees.

– Efforts to clear mines from waters next to the ports of Berdyansk and Mariupol have been practically completed.

Via Odessa

– Russia does not oppose attempts to transport grain via the Kiev-controlled port of Odessa in Ukraine’s south and is ready to guarantee safe passage of ships.

– Ships loaded with grain can leave the port only after mines are removed from the surrounding waters, and the ships, earlier sunk by the Ukrainian side, are lifted from the seabed.

– Putin assured that Russia would not make use of the situation to stage a hypothetical seaborne attack on Odessa.

– According to a Bloomberg report, Russia and Turkey have tentatively agreed to unblock the port of Odessa. Ankara plans to set up a special center in Istanbul to track and coordinate cargo ships. Moscow, in turn, insists on inspection of all ships coming to Odessa to prevent possible arms deliveries.

Via Western countries

– Putin also hinted at the possibility of transporting grain via the Danube River, towards ports in Romania.

– Ukrainian grain can also be delivered by rail to Hungary, Romania and Poland. However, since Ukraine’s official railroad track width is 1,520 mm, carriages need to be adjusted to the European standard of 1,435 mm. The process may take a few hours.

– According to Ukrainian authorities, the country has six facilities where the adjustments can be made, including two on the border with Poland (Yagodin with the capacity of servicing 28 carriages per day) and Mostiska (18), Yesen on the border with Hungary (30) and Vadul-Siret on the border with Romania (40). Along with foreign facilities of this kind, about 175 carriages can cross the border daily, while an average cargo train has about 75 carriages.

– Lithuania suggested its port of Klaipeda for Ukrainian grain exports and sent several trains to Ukraine via Poland, bypassing Belarus. However, the time those trains spend in transit exceeds the margins of commercial feasibility. Another problem is the lack of rail carriages. About 4,000 of them are necessary for the purpose, but neither Ukraine nor Lithuania have the required number at their disposal.

Via Belarus

– Transportation via Belarus will not require any carriage adjustments. It also makes direct deliveries to Baltic ports possible.

– Western nations and Ukraine reject the initiative, because it envisages removal of sanctions imposed on Belarus.

Ukraine suspends coal, gas exports ahead of winter season — president

Due to the war, it will indeed be the most difficult winter during all years of independence, Vladimir Zelensky said

KIEV, June 8. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky announced his country was suspending all coal and gas exports ahead of what he described as “the most difficult winter during all years of independence.”

“Due to the war, it will indeed be the most difficult winter during all years of independence. <…> During this period, we won’t sell our gas and coal abroad. All domestic production will focus on meeting the internal demand,” Zelensky said in a video address, posted on his Telegram channel.

Prime Minister Denis Shmygal said earlier coal production in Ukraine’s state-run mines had declined by one third since late February and recommended “to brace for Ukraine’s most difficult heating season ever.”

The government tasked the state-run oil and gas company Naftogaz with accumulating at least 19 billion cubic meters of gas in Ukrainian underground storage facilities. According to Shmygal, Ukraine completed its previous heating season with 9 billion cubic meters of gas remaining in its storages. As of June 1, the country had 10 billion cubic meters of gas at its disposal.

Turkey Calls On Ukraine To Cooperate With Russian ‘Grain Corridor’ Plan To Unblock Ports

Turkey says that a plan being brokered under UN auspices to set up safe ‘grain corridors’ to open Ukraine ports for Black Sea transit has yet to be finalized, but that it’s “feasible”. Turkey has offered to escort maritime convoys as a neutral power from blockaded Ukraine ports.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu while speaking alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a Wednesday news conference said that for the plan to finally proceed, there would have to be direct negotiations between Moscow and Kiev.

AFP via Getty Images

However, so far Ukraine’s government hasn’t been represented in the Russia-Turkey-UN talks. Kiev has meanwhile not only blamed the Russian military blockade of its ports for causing a global food crisis, but has charged Russian forces with stealing Ukrainian grain.

Further, according to The Associated Press, Ukraine has “expressed concerns that if it removes mines from its Black Sea ports, Russia would be more able to attack its southern coast.”

The Russia-Turkey plan to erect ‘grain corridor’ which would provide safe passage to Ukrainian grain cargo ships out of the Black Sea port of Odessa via joint military escorts is conditioned on the prospect of a successful major de-mining operation of Ukraine’s ports.

During Wednesday’s press conference in Istanbul, one reality on display was NATO member Turkey’s willingness to break with allies in compromising with Russian interests. This also comes curiously in the context of vehement Turkish objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO. The Turkish FM even suggesting dropping sanctions as a possible part of ensuring the grain corridor plan is achieved.

The AP reports this as follows:

Cavusoglu also said Moscow’s request that its involvement in implementing the U.N. plan result in the easing of international sanctions against it was “quite legitimate.”

“If the whole world is in need of the products to be exported by Ukraine and the Russian Federation, then a method needs to be established,” he said, adding that he hoped “technical preparations” could be made “as soon as possible.”

Against this perhaps Turkish pragmatism has been the backdrop of Western leaders telling their societies that “sacrifices” must be made, whether at the pump or grocery store or sending billions in hard-earned tax dollars to Ukraine, for sake of repelling Russian aggression.

Concerning the ‘grain corridor,’ Foreign Minister Lavrov said early this week the agreement “stipulates that Ukraine will not use the demining process to strengthen its military capability and will not disrupt the Russian navy.” But given the continued realities of war and ongoing Russian invasion of the country this could be the central part that derails the Russia-Turkey UN plan, given Ukraine may not sign onto it.

Ukrainian grain a ‘minor issue’ – Russia

Foreign minister says Ukraine and the West are inflating the loss of 1% of global grain into a “universal catastrophe”
Ukrainian grain a 'minor issue' – Russia

Ukraine and its Western supporters are trying to portray a “minor issue” with Ukrainian grain as a “universal catastrophe,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.

Speaking after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara, Lavrov said he and Mevlut Cavusoglu paid “much attention” to the problem of Ukrainian grain stuck in Black Sea ports. However, the diplomat noted that “the share of this Ukrainian grain in question is less than 1% of the global production of wheat and other cereals.

Therefore, the current situation with Ukrainian grain has nothing to do with the food crisis,” Lavrov concluded.

He thanked Ankara for its willingness to help ensure that “several dozen” foreign ships carrying grain can leave Black Sea ports, where they are now “being used as hostages” by the Ukrainian side.

Ukraine and Western states have repeatedly accused Moscow of impeding grain exports by blocking Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and thus stoking a global food crisis. Russia has rejected such claims, saying it is ready to ensure safe passage for grain-carrying vessels. Moscow insists the disruption stems from Kiev’s own actions and extensive mining of the shoreline by the Ukrainian military.

Lavrov noted that over the last two months, Russian forces have announced humanitarian corridors from Ukrainian territorial waters to the Bosporus Strait.

“Until recently, the Ukrainian authorities, including President Zelensky, publicly denied their readiness to clear these territorial waters to start this process. And now, as our Turkish friends tell us, the Ukrainian side is ready to clear the mines or provide secure passage through the minefields.” Lavrov said.

He expressed hope for a speedy resolution of the problem.

“Our military is in touch with our Turkish friends. They are discussing the details of these processes, these initiatives. On our part, there are not and never been any obstacles to solving this issue, which is a minor issue in fact. If the Kiev government is ready, we will be happy to cooperate,” Lavrov said.

He stressed that Russia is prepared “to ensure the safety” of ships departing from Ukrainian ports, working in coordination with Turkey.

President Putin publicly said that we guarantee the safety of this kind of route, and we guarantee that if and when Ukraine conducts mine clearance and allows ships to depart from its ports, we will not use this situation in the interests of the ongoing special military operation. These are the guarantees of the President of Russia. We are ready to formalize them one way or another,” Lavrov said.

Cavusoglu, in turn, called on the West to withdraw Russian grain and fertilizer exports from sanctions lists.

While the West has accused Russia of causing a surge in food prices by continuing its military operation, Moscow maintains that the real cause of the food crisis is the “politically motivated” Western sanctions against it.

If we need to open up the international market to Ukrainian grain, we see the removal of obstacles standing in the way of Russia’s exports as a legitimate demand,” the Turkish Foreign Minister said.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.

Even If Ukraine’s Ports Open Up Tomorrow, It Will Take “Months” To Demine Them: UN

At a moment global humanitarian and hunger relief groups are warning of a “catastrophe” for already vulnerable populations particularly in Africa and the Middle East which rely heavily on Ukrainian and Black Sea region grain exports, the United Nations has said it will likely take “months” to de-mine Ukraine’s ports. The war-torn country is the fourth biggest exporter of grain in the world.

Hundreds of merchant vessels had been stranded in the war’s opening months at Ukrainian ports following the Russian invasion, and still nearly 100 remain stuck along with their crews. This week a special advisor on maritime security at the UN’s International Maritime Organization told Bloomberg“Even if the ports wanted to reopen tomorrow it would take some time until ships could enter or depart.” But it remains that before this, “Completely removing sea mines in the port areas would take several months.”

Image via Yonhap News

The de-mining issue has stalled UN-sponsored negotiations in Istanbul between Russia and Turkey to establish a ‘grain corridor’ to get the vital exports needed for much of the world’s food moving again. Kiev has charged that both the Russian naval blockade as well as Russian forces’ theft of Ukraine’s grain is the reason for the emerging global food and supply crisis, while the Kremlin has long blamed Ukraine for heavily mining its own ports.

Statements from the Ukrainian and Russian governments, as well as in international reports, indicate there are literally multiple thousands of mines up and down Ukraine’s coast. For this reason, Ukrainian government officials have estimated that if it started demining efforts now, it would take a whopping six months to clear the coast of Ukrainian and Russian mines, as cited in The Guardian.

In his latest statements, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the onus is on the Ukrainian side

We state daily that we’re ready to guarantee the safety of vessels leaving Ukrainian ports and heading for the (Bosphorus) gulf, we’re ready to do that in cooperation with our Turkish colleagues,” he said after talks with his Turkish counterpart.

“To solve the problem, the only thing needed is for the Ukrainians to let vessels out of their ports, either by demining them or by marking out safe corridors, nothing more is required.”

Ukraine has rejected this narrative or that it bears responsibility for placing mines in the face of an invading power. The standoff and firm words on Wednesday strongly suggesting there’s no resolution to the crisis in sight.

“Freight and insurance costs spiked after several merchant ships were hit in the early days of Russia’s invasion, and some shipping companies are still avoiding the Black Sea,” Bloomberg details of a still dangerous situation for Black Sea shipping. “Three mines were detected free-floating in March, two off the coast of Turkey and one near Romania. In the northwest of the Black Sea near Ukraine, commercial ships have stopped operating,” the report adds.

In terms of estimated numbers, there were initially 2,000 commercial ships stuck at Ukrainian ports – but in recent weeks this is down to over 80 international ships which represent some 450 crew members.

Most of Ukraine and Russian grain exports originate at these 9 ports. Russian exports have largely resumed.

But again, even if a deal between Russia and Ukraine to lift the blockade were struck tomorrow, the presence of mines would make it unsafe for commercial maritime traffic:

According to the UN, Russia and Ukraine supply about 40% of the wheat consumed in Africa, where prices have already risen by about 23%.

However, Markiyan Dmytrasevych, an adviser to Ukraine’s minister of agrarian policy and food, said on Tuesday that even if Russia lifted its blockade, thousands of mines would remain floating around the port of Odesa, and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, spokesman for the World Food Programme, Petroc Wilton, told Sky News on Wednesday that an already bad situation is about to get a lot worse. “Food prices were already going really, really high,” he said, and explained: “The concern now is that Ukraine is making these things worse, but also because of the impact that the Ukraine crisis is having on aviation fuel costs, (and) is having on international shipping costs.”

He emphasized: “So the real concern right now is that Ukraine will make an already dire situation so much worse.”

African Union chief says ‘reassured’ after talks with Moscow as Vladimir Putin deflects blame for food crisis

African Union head Macky Sall said he’s ‘very happy’ after talks with the Russian president who accused the West of ‘bluster’ by claiming Moscow was preventing grain exports from Ukraine.

African Union head Macky Sall said on Friday he was “reassured” after talks in Russia with President Vladimir Putin on food shortages caused by Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.

Mr Putin hosted the Senegalese president, who chairs the African Union, at his Black Sea residence in Sochi on the 100th day of Moscow’s offensive. Global food shortages and grain supplies stuck in Ukrainian ports were high on the agenda.

“I found Vladimir Putin committed and aware that the crisis and sanctions create serious problems for weak economies, such as African economies,” Mr Sall told journalists, adding that he was leaving Russia “very reassured and very happy with our exchanges”.

Mr Putin in a televised interview in the evening accused the West of “bluster” by claiming Moscow was preventing grain exports from Ukraine.

“There is no problem to export grain from Ukraine,” he said, suggesting several possible routes.

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