KYIV: Ukraine urged the European Union on Monday to back its initiative for regular exports through a new maritime corridor in the Black Sea, amid a rift between Kyiv and several neighbours over grain deliveries.
Ukraine has been pushing for support for the naval route since Moscow scrapped a deal in July guaranteeing safe passage of grain exports in the Black Sea.
“If the EU and Ukraine join forces to guarantee the security of this corridor, then this corridor will be able to work at full capacity,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in a joint press conference with EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.
He did not specify what support he was seeking from Brussels.
The end of the grain export deal in July has seen a huge influx of Ukrainian grain being shipped via the European Union, driving down local prices and spurring protests in countries like Poland.
When Russia withdrew from the grain deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, it threatened to attack cargo ships approaching Ukrainian ports.
Its warships have not targeted ships using the new route but Moscow has stepped up aerial attacks on Ukraine’s Black Sea port infrastructure after abandoning the grain deal.
“A sea corridor through which Ukrainian grain can be exported to the world without the involvement of Russia is possible. We have already demonstrated it,” Kuleba said, referring to ships that have successfully navigated the new route that hugs the coast of Ukraine.
“We must look for solutions that will deprive Russia of the opportunity to blackmail the world with hunger or low grain prices,” he added.
Poland has extended an embargo against Ukrainian grain imports, deepening a diplomatic spat between Kyiv and Warsaw.
Poland has been one of Ukraine’s staunchest supporters since Russia sent troops to Ukraine in February 2022 and is one of Kyiv’s main weapons suppliers.