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The plan for the export of grain from Ukraine is in “advanced phase”

A grain field near the Ukrainian city of Zhovtneve / Afp

The Foreign Minister of kyiv, Kuleba, asks for guarantees from third countries so that Russia does not launch new attacks taking advantage of the opening of corridors

DARIO MINOR Correspondent in Rome

Hope is opened so that the Ukrainian ports can be unblocked and thus the ships loaded with cereals can leave that country to avoid the famine that, according to the UN, could be unleashed in various poor countries due to the impact that the Russian invasion has had on the international food market. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of wheat, while Ukraine is the fifth. Between both nations they represent more than a third of world cereal exports. According to estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 6 million tons of wheat and 14 million tons of corn are blocked in Ukrainian ports, two of the cereals for which this country is one of the largest producers in the world.

The Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, assured in an interview published this Tuesday by the Italian newspaper ‘La Repubblica’ that the plan to export cereals from the port of Odessa under the umbrella of the United Nations is in an “advanced phase”. . For this, kyiv demanded guarantees from Moscow that it will not use these corridors to attack Ukraine, also requesting that other nations act as guarantors of the agreement. Turkey, which already hosted a round of negotiations between the two parties in March, could act as a mediator in the resumption of the export of Ukrainian grain by sea.

Kuleba urged “to launch an international operation in the Black Sea with the help of friendly countries available to send their ships to demine the waters and escort the passage of commercial freighters, starting with Odessa.” After assuring that “no one can trust the Russians”, so “the unilateral guarantees” that Moscow can offer are not enough, he stressed that “third countries” are needed to assume the responsibility of enforcing the agreement.

“Our first interest is that our wheat reaches the nations that need it,” Kuleba assured, noting that the release of the ports that Ukraine still controls must arrive “in two weeks at the most”, in order to avoid the “disastrous consequences” of the scarcity and scarcity of cereals in international markets. When asked about kyiv’s demands to return to the negotiating table with Moscow, the head of Ukrainian diplomacy replied that “there are no specific conditions”, since it is only intended that “the Russian delegates show that they have real intentions to deal” . The “brutal” invasion in the Donbas region and the bombing of cities offers, in his opinion, a contrary message. “If you really want to negotiate, you don’t behave like that.”

Both the FAO and the World Food Programme, also dependent on the UN, have been warning since the beginning of the conflict about the catastrophic consequences that the war is having on food security. Even before the invasion began, the number of hungry people was growing to 200 million, 40 million more than the previous year, due to rising prices, among other reasons. FAO estimates add another 18 million undernourished people as the first impact of the war, an amount that could skyrocket if the conflict continues.

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