The United Nations is warning the number of people facing extreme food insecurity could soar to more than 320 million unless Ukraine is allowed to resume shipping grain, cooking oil and fertilizer through ports on the Black Sea. On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with his counterpart in Ankara, where the two discussed the Kremlin’s plan to provide for a safe shipping corridor. After the meeting in Turkey, Lavrov said the onus to act was on Ukraine.
Sergey Lavrov: “We’ve explained today that grain can be transported freely to its destination. Russia isn’t putting any obstacles in the way. This requires Mr. Zelensky to give the command — if he is still in command of anything there — to allow foreign and Ukrainian ships to go into the Black Sea.”
Ukraine was not invited to the talks, and officials in Kyiv have voiced skepticism over the plan. On Thursday, the head of the Ukrainian Grain Union said it could take months to clear sea mines from areas around Odessa and Ukraine’s other Black Sea ports.