VILNIUS – Talks between Russia and Turkey on Ukrainian grain look strange as they do not involve Kyiv, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has said.
“We are observing the ongoing talks, which look strange, to say the least. Turkey is hosting a discussion between Turkey and Russia about the terms and conditions under which Ukraine should free its ports. This is unacceptable, this constitutes a violation of the main principle “nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine”,” he told reporters in the Seimas on Thursday.
“Discussions about Ukrainian ports cannot take place without them [Kyiv] involved,” he added.
At the request of the United Nations, Turkey has offered its services to escort maritime convoys from Ukrainian ports, despite the presence of mines – both Ukrainian and Russian.
Meanwhile, Ukraine, which was not part of the talks in Turkey, has said it is ready to create conditions to resume exports from its ports, but it seeks security guarantees not to be attacked by Russia.
However, talks have not yet made any progress.
According to Landsbergis, Ukrainian ports should be protected either by sending warships that would escort vessels shipping grain out of Ukraine or by providing more weapons to Ukraine.
“The outlines of what exactly is necessary, which weapons, are getting clearer. We will help Ukraine as much as we can in order to have those weapons reach the ports that would be allowed to open under Kyiv’s conditions,” the minister said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated earlier this week that about 20–25 million tons of wheat were currently blocked in the country and the volume might increase to 70–75 million tons in fall after the harvesting of summer crops.
Russia and Ukraine produce 30 percent of the global wheat supply.