West could ensure safety of grain exports from Odessa port – Lithuanian minister

  • 2022-05-23
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – NATO or other Western countries could ensure the safety of grain exports from the Ukrainian port of Odessa, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said on Monday. 

"I am not excluding [...] a chance to form a coalition of countries, maybe some NATO countries, maybe some countries that need grain from Ukraine," Landsbergis told the Sky News.

They "could provide ships or planes that could be stationed in the Black Sea and provide safe maritime passage for the grain ships to leave Odessa's port to reach Bosporus in Turkey", he said.  

Military ships and aircraft could be involved in this effort, but this "would not signify escalation", according to Lithuania's top diplomat.

"Because it's not taking part in the war. It's just securing grain passage from Ukraine to countries that need it," he said. 

There are other ways to move grain out of Ukraine, but "not in such large quantities", so solutions will have to be sought, according to Landsbergis.  

Odessa is Ukraine's largest port and a major gateway for grain shipments, and the blockade of the port by the Russian ships threatens global food supplies.