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Authorities in Kyiv and Brussels are skeptical that efforts to free thousands and thousands of tons of Ukrainian grain below a Russian blockade will succeed, even because the UN, which sponsors the deal, declares progress.
German Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir mentioned Monday that believing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s guarantees is like believing in “Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.”
“I do not suppose it will get that a lot as a result of [it] based mostly on Putin’s phrases [which is] it isn’t definitely worth the paper it is written on,” Ozdemir mentioned in Brussels as he arrived at a gathering of EU agriculture ministers.
“When you nonetheless consider what Putin says, you may as nicely consider Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. That is additionally about being severe and evidence-based.”
Ozdemir’s suspicions come as negotiators from Turkey and the UN introduced a “elementary and technical settlement” between the opponents in Istanbul final week that may enable thousands and thousands of tons of grain caught in Ukraine to be exported through the Black Sea, depending on imports. international locations Dozens of ravenous international locations world wide, already struggling economically, rely closely on grain imports from Ukraine.
Talks with UN Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres this week may increase hopes of a remaining deal as Putin meets his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Iran on Tuesday.
The 4 sides will meet once more subsequent week in Istanbul to signal a written settlement, based on an individual accustomed to Turkey’s position within the talks. “This time now we have to barter,” mentioned that particular person. A UN spokesman mentioned the subsequent spherical of talks had not but been introduced, however added that Guterres was able to attend “if wanted”.
On the similar time, though Ukraine brazenly appreciated the efforts of Turkeyits officers additionally use the tactic of heavy skepticism and ready to see.
“I am nonetheless fully reticent in regards to the expectations,” Olga Trofimtseva, the overseas ministry’s particular envoy to Kyiv, informed POLITICO.
“Why I’m not very optimistic in regards to the consequence are two fundamental elements: I do not belief Russia in any respect… and there are some technical issues,” he mentioned, referring to questions on how Ukraine’s ports will likely be decontaminated. , figuring out who will perform inspections of grain ships and the way a coordinated coordination heart to be established in Istanbul will work in apply.
Trofimtseva mentioned the largest downside is “agency safety ensures” that Russia can present relating to the safety of Ukrainian ports and ships. “There are, at the very least for now, many, many open points,” he mentioned.
Lithuanian International Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis mentioned the port of Odessa “should be secured in order that the Russians do not assault it once more.”
“The Downside of Life and Demise”
Ozdemir additionally known as on the EU Fee to take a extra lively position in increasing Ukraine’s rail and rail exports throughout EU borders – though there’s widespread settlement that land routes can’t transport the identical quantity of grain as Black Sea ships.
“Neighboring international locations and particular person member states can’t do that on their very own. It wants the management of the Fee,” he mentioned, calling on Brussels to develop a “everlasting various route” for Ukrainian grain exports.
EU overseas affairs chief Josep Borrell informed reporters yesterday that land export routes are “not sufficient.”
He continued: “So I hope, and I feel I hope, that there will likely be a chance this week to succeed in an settlement on the closure of Odessa and different Ukrainian ports.”
“The lives of tens of 1000’s of individuals rely on this settlement. So this isn’t a diplomatic recreation, however a matter of life and dying for many individuals.”
Leonie Kiewski and Kamil Gijs contributed to the report.
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