Zelenskyy announces negotiations on convoys for grain corridor
Ukraine wants to preserve the grain corridor, despite the existing war risks from Russia, and is studying possible options, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said at a briefing on Wednesday after meeting with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Kyiv.
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"Both the UN, and Turkey, and the military can say that no one gives 100% guarantees. This is a very easy position, but for Ukraine, it is not a position that we are ready to take. Because for us, we need the corridor to work. And we have the right to it," he said.
Zelenskyy emphasized that, from Ukraine's point of view, the Black Sea Grain Initiative continues its operation. In what form it will be preserved depends on the positions of partners – Turkey and the UN, the president said.
"Knowing Russia, the corridor will not be safe if the UN does not start working at the level of the Secretary General. In addition to words, which were powerful enough, practical actions are needed. We have not seen this yet," said President Zelenskyy.
He also said that he plans to discuss with the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, how to ensure the safety of grain carriers in the corridor.
"There are different aspects here. We raised questions about individual convoys. They need to be discussed not only with Turkey, but also with our other partners, and I'm going to talk about it," the Ukrainian leader said.
He assured that private shipping companies and grain traders are ready to work in the corridor.
"They say that we are ready to take appropriate risks, we want to go along the corridor, we are ready to take risks," Zelenskyy stated.
On July 17, 2023, Russia announced its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, noting that it would not give guarantees of non-attack on civilian vessels after that date. On the same day, Zelenskyy offered the UN and Turkey to continue the work of the corridor without Russia.
After that, Russia massively attacked Odesa from the air for two nights in a row, causing serious damage to the ports in Odesa and Chornomorsk, which worked within the corridor.
Bloomberg, citing its own sources, said that Turkey would not risk sending a fleet to protect the grain corridor.