Ukraine has no plans to mine waters around Odesa’s port to reopen grain exports. The Ukrainians fear that Russia will use it to attack the important port city.
“The moment we clear access to the port of Odesa, the Russian fleet will be there,” regional administration spokesman Sergi Bratchuk said in a video message posted on social media.
Turkey and Russia met in Ankara on Wednesday to discuss the establishment of a security corridor to ship Ukrainian grain stuck in ports due to a Russian blockade. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in the Turkish capital that Moscow is ready to facilitate the safe passage of Ukrainian grain.
Bratchuk said before the Russian announcement that all exports from Odessa must be supervised “by NATO countries”. Turkey, a member of NATO, has offered to escort convoys from Ukrainian ports.
Before the war, Ukraine was one of the world’s leading exporters of wheat, accounting for half of the world’s trade in sunflower seeds and oil. Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky warned this week that the amount of grain blocked by the war could triple within months.