Ukrainian President Zelenskiy and U.K. PM Discuss Boosting Grain Exports as EU Gives Aid

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Ukrainian Parliament Politic Magazine) – British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy held an early morning discussion on July 25th regarding the crucial matter of facilitating the smooth export of Ukrainian grain to global markets. This conversation took place against the backdrop of the European Union’s announcement of a substantial aid package worth 1.5 billion euros ($1.66 billion) aimed at assisting Ukraine in repairing its infrastructure. This support comes at a critical time, as Russia has recently launched air strikes on both the port city of Odesa and the capital, Kyiv.

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In recent days, there have been reports of Russian airstrikes targeting Ukrainian food-export facilities, particularly those located in Danube ports near the border with Romania, a member of NATO. These strikes come in the wake of the Kremlin’s decision last week to withdraw from a UN-brokered sea-corridor agreement, which had previously ensured the secure transportation of Ukrainian grain.

The Russian military’s deliberate targeting of Ukrainian food-export facilities is a matter of great concern. These facilities play a crucial role in Ukraine’s economy, as they enable the country to export its agricultural products to international markets.

On July 25, Romania’s Foreign Ministry confirmed to RFE/RL that a Romanian commercial vessel had suffered slight damage in a drone attack launched by Russia on Ukraine’s Danube port of Reni on July 24. Fortunately, the damage incurred was minor, and the crew members remained unharmed. However, the ministry refrained from disclosing the name of the ship involved in the incident.

The ministry has confirmed that no Romanian citizens were harmed in the recent attacks on Reni and Izmail. Kyiv has accused Moscow of deliberately targeting grain supplies and critical infrastructure necessary for the agreement. The United Nations has cautioned that if the agreement is not revived, it will be the most vulnerable who bear the brunt of the consequences.

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In Brussels, Ursula von der Leyen, the Chief of the European Commission, expressed her strong condemnation of the Russian attacks on Ukrainian grain-storage and export infrastructure. She reassured Kyiv of the continued support from the European Union.

Taking to Twitter, von der Leyen announced that today the European Union has provided an additional 1.5 billion euros to aid in the maintenance of the Ukrainian state and the repair of its infrastructure.

However, the Kremlin, on July 25, dismissed the appeal made by the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, urging Moscow to rejoin the grain deal. The Kremlin argued that Russia’s export of grain and fertilizer, as agreed upon in the deal, had not been duly honored.

“The prime minister said the U.K. was working closely with Turkey on restoring the grain deal, and we would continue to use our role as chair of the UN Security Council to further condemn Russia’s behavior.”  

The office of the British Prime Minister issued a statement, emphasizing that Sunak expressed his deep concern over the catastrophic impact of recent Russian assaults on Odesa during their phone conversation.  They also revealed: “Unfortunately, at the moment it is impossible to return to the deal because [the Russian-related part] is not being implemented, and de facto it has never been implemented’’.

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President Zelenskiy on Ukraine’s Booming Grain Exports

On July 25, the Kremlin dismissed UN chief Antonio Guterres’ request for Moscow to rejoin the grain deal, asserting that Russia’s export of grain and fertilizer had not been fulfilled as agreed upon in the agreement. Regional officials in Ukraine reported early on July 25th that Russia had initiated a fresh wave of drone strikes on Kyiv. Meanwhile, Moscow claimed to have repelled a Ukrainian assault on one of its patrol boats in the Black Sea.

According to Serhiy Popko, the head of the Kyiv city military administration, all the drones launched by Russian forces during the night were successfully intercepted by the city’s air defense. This marked the sixth attack on Ukraine’s capital this month.

Russian drone attacks were reported in the Cherkasy and Zhytomyr regions, resulting in some infrastructure damage in the latter. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Ukrainian seaborne drones made an unsuccessful attempt to attack one of its patrol boats in the Black Sea. The Ministry states: “Ukrainian armed forces carried out an unsuccessful attack overnight with two naval drones on the Sergei Kotov patrol ship’’.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.