Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba warned nations on Tuesday against purchasing gains from Moscow amid claims that Russian forces have stolen farm supplies and grains from occupied areas in Ukraine.
“Russian thieves steal Ukrainian grain, load it onto ships, pass through Bosporus, and try to sell it abroad,” he said in reference to a narrow Turkish strait that separates the European and Asian continent. “I call on all states to stay vigilant and refuse any such proposals. Don’t become accomplices to Russian crimes.”
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed for Fox News earlier this month that Russian forces were stealing its grain and exporting it to third nations.
Zelenskyy would not say which countries were involved in the illicit enterprise but said Kyiv was in constant communication with foreign embassies in an attempt to circumvent the theft.
“They occupy our ports and they are taking out our goods,” he said. “I do not want to name specific countries who are – behind our backs – making these deals.”
Zelenskyy claimed these nations have openly supported Ukraine in its war against Russia and have condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deadly war. But he alleged they are also negotiating with Moscow on purchasing Ukraine’s stolen grain in an attempt to secure a “cheaper” price.
UN officials have been sounding the alarm that Russia’s war and blockade over Ukraine’s Black Sea ports will have a devastating effect on global food supplies.
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Before the war, Ukraine was responsible for contributing more than that 10 percent to the global wheat market.
Though it is unclear how exactly Moscow’s wheat exports may be impacted by the war and international sanctions, Russia was also responsible for another 20 percent of global when exports – meaning 30 percent of the world’s wheat supplies could be in jeopardy in 2022.
Russia has not only been pummeling Ukraine for more than three months, but it has essentially enforced a trade blockade from the Black Sea.
“It’s a no-go zone for commercial shipping,” General Mark Milley told reporters Monday. “Many countries in the world depend on Ukrainian grain.
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“Odesa is a major port for Ukraine. It’s their access to the sea and the outside world, and it becomes a significant vehicle by which grain, for example, is exported and other commodities coming out of Ukraine,” he explained. “Because of mines, because of the Russian fleet, because of the risks associated with it, that has not happened here now going on almost 90 days.”
Milley said it remains unclear when Ukraine’s ports may reopen.
The general said there is a “stalemate” in the Black Sea between Ukrainian and Russian forces as Kyiv continues its attempts to block Moscow from launching a successful land attack on Odesa.