8 Jun 2022 16:46

Turkey's role not enough to guarantee security of seaborne grain exports from Ukraine - Kyiv

MOSCOW. June 8 (Interfax) - The Ukrainian government is not participating in negotiations underway in Istanbul, where Turkish and Russian officials are discussing the possibility of opening a "green corridor" for grain exports. Nor has Ukraine considered granting Turkey a discount in return for its mediation.

The involvement of Turkey alone in efforts to resume grain exports via the Black Sea is not enough to guarantee the security of Ukrainian exports, the Ukrainian media said on Wednesday, citing the Ukrainian Grain Association's acting executive director Serhiy Ivashchenko, who attended the ProAgro Forum Elevatorno online meeting, which dealt with a grain storage development strategy.

"Our government has not raised these issues. It is not taking part in such talks. Any grain price discounts are out of the question. This is just the desire of certain personalities, who are articulating it in the media... Besides, Turkey is not a sufficient force in the Black Sea to guarantee the security of cargoes and of Ukrainian ports," Ivashchenko said, when commenting on Turkish politicians' remarks.

Turkey's Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Vahit Kirisci told the Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak the day before that his country stands ready to act as a mediator in arranging grain exports from Ukrainian ports, and Ukraine has agreed to give Turkey a 25% discount on agricultural products in return for Turkey's mediation in restoring maritime commerce.

Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, for his part, told the Turkish media outlet Anadolu that Turkey is holding talks with Ukraine, the UN and Russia on forming a "green corridor" from Ukraine, noting progress in steps to unblock Ukrainian agricultural exports.

Ivashchenko, however, said that even if ships of the "green corridor" guarantor countries from NATO and the EU immediately entered the Black Sea, it would take them at least 3-4 months to demine the Ukrainian ports.

The Ukrainian Grain Association incorporates producers, processing enterprises and major exporters of grain, which account for nearly 90% of Ukraine's overall annual grain exports.