Zelenskyy and British prime minister note importance of grain corridor for global food security
Ukraine needs to strengthen its air defenses in the key Black Sea port of Odesa to ensure safe navigation, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday, as Kyiv searches for alternative routes to export its grain.
“Ukraine has successfully demonstrated the possibility of exporting grain via an alternative route three times already. We are ready to continue doing so,” Zelenskyy told British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a phone call, according to a statement from the Ukrainian presidency.
“But to ensure the safety of navigation, we need help from our partners, in particular, a significant strengthening of the air defense system in the Odesa region,” he added.
Zelenskyy and Sunak discussed threats to the safety of navigation in the Black Sea and noted the importance of the grain corridor for global food security, the statement added.
The Ukrainian president expressed “his readiness to continue exporting grain via alternative routes,” it said.
On July 17, Russia suspended its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which was brokered by Türkiye and the UN to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports that were paused after Moscow’s special military operation began in February 2022.
Moscow has repeatedly complained that the West has not met its obligations under the deal and that there are restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance on shipments of its own food and fertilizer exports.
After a meeting Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke optimistically about reviving the deal, saying he believes a “good result” will be reached soon.
The US and other international actors have praised Türkiye’s efforts to both reach the grain deal and also work for its continuation.