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Ukrainian Foreign Ministry responds to Lavrov on mined ports: withdraw forces from the Black Sea and guarantee non-aggression

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry

Ukraine and its partners are discussing the establishment of an international mission to unblock Ukrainian maritime exports, which would require Russia to withdraw its forces from the maritime waters surrounding Ukraine and provide security guarantees of non-aggression as a first step.

This was stated by Oleh Nikolenko, spokesman for Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in response to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's statement, according to reports.

Lavrov claims that Russia is willing to let ships carrying Ukrainian grain pass through "if Ukraine demines ports."

Nikolenko rejected Lavrov's words, noting that Russia had besieged Ukrainian seaports by attacking Ukraine, and that the Russian army had mined part of the sea and was constantly simply trying to overstep the Black Sea defenses of Odesa and other coastal cities.

According to Nikolenko, Ukraine is working with partners to establish a foreign mission, which will take over the operation of sea routes for the export of Ukrainian agricultural products, primarily under the auspices of the United Nations.

Ukraine praises a number of countries' previous willingness to participate in the process of restoring security in the Black Sea.

Ukraine also demands that Russia withdraw its forces from the maritime waters surrounding Ukraine and provide security guarantees of non-aggression on ports and commercial convoys as a first step.

"Russia must immediately unblock Ukrainian seaports, cease shelling of Odesa and other coastal cities, withdraw its navy to a safe distance from merchant ships, and not obstruct international navigation," Nikolenko said.

"We strongly encourage countries whose food security may be jeopardized by Russia's aggression against Ukraine to use their diplomatic channels to pressure Moscow to lift the blockade of Ukrainian seaports and end the war," he said.

Matti Maasikas, the EU's Ambassador to Ukraine, said the day before that Russia's most egregious lie concerns the food crisis.

In exchange for the lifting of sanctions, the Russian Foreign Ministry has stated that it is willing to provide a humanitarian corridor for the export of Ukrainian crops across the Black Sea. The US and the UK have already stated that such concessions will not be considered.

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