RUSSIA,UKRAINE: Russia and Turkey on Wednesday voiced support for the creation of a safe maritime corridor in the Black Sea so Ukraine can export grain to global markets amid an escalating world food crisis. A Turkish minister said the move should also be accompanied by the easing of Western sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu hosted his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Ankara for discussions focused on a U.N. proposal to free Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and allow some 22 million tons of grain sitting in silos to be shipped out.
Ukraine’s Government was not represented at the Ankara meeting but has expressed concerns that removing mines from its ports to facilitate grain exports could allow Russia to attack its southern coast.
Lavrov promised that Russia would not “abuse” its naval advantage if Ukraine’s ports were demined and would “take all necessary steps to ensure that the ships can leave there freely.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian soldiers in Severodonetsk are fighting “one of the most difficult” battles against Russian troops since the start of the war, President Volodymyr Zelensky said, adding the fate of the whole Donbas region rests in the eastern city.
Moscow’s forces are concentrating their firepower on the strategically important industrial hub as part of efforts to capture a swathe of eastern Ukraine.
After days of raging street battles, Ukrainian officials conceded that Russian troops control a large part of Severodonetsk, and that their forces might have to pull back due to constant shelling.
– ARAB NEWS, GULF TIMES