Belarus ready to discuss possible transit of Ukraine grain

Unblocking Ukraine's Black Sea ports is another option
calendar icon 3 June 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko was quoted on Friday as saying that Minsk was ready to discuss the possible transit of Ukraine's grain via Belarus, with some "compromises", reported Reuters.

Ukraine, a major global grain exporter, is unable to use its Black Sea ports for supplies since Russia sent thousands of troops to the country on 24 February.

Exports from Ukraine via Belarus have been one of the options in wide discussions led by the United Nations which aim to boost global grain supply as the major food crisis looms. Unblocking of Ukraine's Black Sea ports is another option.

"Now everyone is looking for logistics ... Okay, we can talk. We do not mind: bring it through Belarus, but there must be compromises," local newspaper Belarus Today quoted Lukashenko as saying.

Lukashenko did not say what he would see as the compromises.

Belarus, a major global potash producer, has been hit by harsh Western sanctions in 2021-2022 which disrupted its exports of the fertiliser via the Baltic Sea ports.

Financial sanctions imposed on Moscow since 24 February also hit Russian fertiliser exporters, and damaged global supply chain adds to the risk of the food crisis.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cautioned earlier this week that any agreement to unblock shipments of commodities from the region was still some way off because "the fact that everything is interlinked makes the negotiation particularly complex."

Moscow and Minsk have blamed Western sanctions for disrupting exports of both grains and fertilisers and causing the risk of the global food crisis.

The problem is caused by "the policies that the West and the rich countries, especially the United States, are pursuing today," Lukashenko was quoted by news agency Belta as saying.

The problem needs to be solved, he added.

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