Storage silos and transport cranes at the port of Odessa in Ukraine on January 22. (Christopher Occhicone / Bloomberg / Getty Images)
Russia is trying to “blackmail” the international community with an offer to unblock Ukraine’s seaports if sanctions against it are reduced, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the World Economic Forum on Wednesday. Davos, Switzerland, Wednesday.
This is “clear blackmail,” Kuleba said. “No better example of blackmail could be found in international relations.”
He warned that if Russia did not lift the blockade of Ukrainian crop exports, the entire agricultural cycle would be disrupted and could lead to a “multi-year food crisis”.
Background: Before the war, Ukraine was the world’s fourth largest exporter of corn and the fifth largest exporter of wheat, according to the US State Department. Almost 30% of world wheat trade came from Russia and Ukraine alone.
Speaking at a roundtable, Kuleba said that Russia and Ukraine are not close to the possibility of a negotiated peace and that Moscow has no intention of participating in talks aimed at ending the war.
“When you’re doing an operation like this, you’re basically saying no to negotiations. If Russia had preferred the talks to the war, they would have behaved differently, “he said.
Making concessions in Russia has not worked since 2014 and will not work now, Kuleba said.
“This strategy has been used by the world’s leading forces from 2014 to February 24, 2022. Make concessions here, make concessions here, it will help prevent war. It has failed. Eight years of this strategy have resulted in missiles hitting Kyiv and bloodshed in the Donbas, “the foreign minister said.
Kuleba once again called for more sanctions against Russia, which is to stop buying Russian oil, which he says keeps Moscow in a comfortable position.
“Ukraine is suffering more than Russia with sanctions against it. … After three months of war, my message is simple: kill Russian exports. Stop buying in Russia and allow them to make money investing in the machine to kill and destroy, “he said.