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Lavrov: Russia Ready for Talks With UN, Turkey, Ukraine on Grain Deliveries

Earlier on Wednesday, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said that there is certain progress in the discussion between Moscow, Ankara, Kiev and the UN on unblocking Ukrainian grain exports in the Black Sea, thanks to stakeholders having the will to resolve the crisis.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stated that Moscow is ready to hold negotiations with counterparts from the UN, Turkey and Ukraine on grain deliveries.

"As for additional meetings in Istanbul, we are ready for such gatherings. We appreciate the UN's interest in being involved [], but, frankly, this will not bring anything other than some symbolism," Lavrov told reporters on Wednesday.

He added that Moscow would now see how the preliminary agreements on the export of grain from Ukraine, discussed in Turkey, would be translated into practical deeds.

The top Russian diplomat explained that the main problem was that Kiev had flatly refused to resolve the problem of demining Ukrainian ports.

"If now they [Kiev authorities] have changed their attitude, then there will be no difficulties on our part, so let's see how the preliminary agreements that we discussed yesterday and today will be embodied in practical deeds," Lavrov said following his talks in Ankara with Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

According to the Russian foreign minister, Moscow is "ready to ensure the safety of ships that leave Ukrainian ports and go to the straits", something that Lavrov said Russia is ready to do "in cooperation" with its Turkish colleagues.

Cavusoglu, for his part, said that Turkey considers the UN's "mechanism" to resolve the grain issue "acceptable".

"[] Turkey is ready to participate in the process. If the parties agree, we are ready to hold an appropriate meeting in Istanbul," Cavusoglu told reporters at a joint press conference with Lavrov on Wednesday.

The statement comes after Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said that some progress has been made in the discussion on transporting Ukrainian grain from the Black Sea ports, but that there are technical issues that require discussions between Russia, Ukraine and the UN.

The UN has repeatedly warned of the threat of a food crisis due to a shortage of grain, with the West accusing Russia of opposing the supply of Ukrainian grain to world markets, allegations Moscow vehemently denies.

Moscow also refuted accusations that it has been deliberately blocking seaports in Ukraine. Lavrov said last week that the West kept silent about the fact that Russian ships supposed to deliver grain abroad were sanctioned and could neither be insured nor accepted in European ports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in turn, underscored that "there is no problem exporting grain from Ukraine". He said that ports under Kiev's control, particularly Odessa, could be used for the purpose if the waters around the ports are cleared of mines by Ukraine.

[Source: By Oleg Burunov, Sputnik, Moscow, 08Jun22]

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