The real objective of such a mission would be to interfere in the Black Sea region, said Russian FM Sergei Lavrov.
The proposal to form an international naval coalition to escort ships carrying Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea is, in fact, a proposal that pursues a completely different goal, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
“Attempts to organize some sort of international coalition for the implementation of these procedures are aimed solely at interfering in the Black Sea region under the auspices of the UN. And we see it very clearly,Lavrov said after talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Tehran on Thursday.
The idea of sending warships from countries allegedly affected by grain shortages caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict to the Black Sea was floated by Lithuanian FM Gabrielius Landsbergis during his trip to London in late May. . According to the media, the British authorities have expressed their support in principle for such a mission.
“There is no problem exporting cereals without implementing such programs”, assured the Russian Foreign Minister to his audience.
He reiterated that Moscow guarantees the safety of ships carrying grain in international waters to the Bosphorus Strait, a key access channel controlled by Ankara. “We have an agreement on this issue with Turkey,” said Lavrov.
Ukraine is a major grain exporter, but its ships have been unable to sail since the launch of the Russian military operation in the country in late February. kyiv and the West accuse Moscow of blocking their passage, while Russia insists that logistical problems have been created by naval mines placed by Ukraine itself.
“The efforts currently undertaken by Turkey and the UN Secretary General [Antonio Guterres] would have been a success a long time ago if Ukraine and its Western masters had solved the problem of clearing mines from the Black Sea ports,” stressed the head of Russian diplomacy.
On Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss also addressed the issue of helping Ukrainian grain leave ports, saying it would require “an international effort”.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary, speaking after talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, said a failure to quickly resolve the grain transport impasse “will cause a great famine”.
“[Russian President Vladimir] Putin weaponizes hunger, he uses food security as a ruthless tool of war. It has blocked Ukrainian ports and is preventing the export of 20 million tonnes of grain across the world, holding the world to ransom,” said Truss.
Lavrov had previously blamed the West for exaggerating Ukrainian grain problems, pointing out that the blocked supplies represented “less than 1% of the world production of wheat and other cereals”.
“Therefore, the current situation of Ukrainian grain has nothing to do with the food crisis,” he said, a few weeks ago.