Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov affirmed, on Wednesday, that Moscow is prepared to coordinate with its Turkish partners to ensure the safety of ships leaving Ukrainian ports.
“We are ready to ensure the safety of ships leaving Ukrainian ports and heading for the straits. We are prepared to do this in cooperation with the Turkish counterparts,” Lavrov said during a news conference following talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.
However, he highlighted Kyiv’s stubbornness in resolving the issue amid the Russian-Ukrainian war.
“If they have now changed their mind, then there will be no difficulties on our side. It remains to be seen how the preliminary agreements that we discussed yesterday and today will be translated into practical deeds,” Lavrov added.
In the same vein, the minister asserted that the Russian side is ready for an UN-mediated meeting with Ukraine in Istanbul, but the meeting will rather be symbolic than actually resolve the grain issue.
“About additional meetings in Istanbul [on the issue of grain exports]: we are ready for such meetings. We appreciate the UN’s interest in getting involved in some way, marking its presence, but, frankly, it would be nothing but symbolic,” he noted.
The Russian minister stressed that all that is needed to solve this problem is for “the Ukrainians to let ships leave their ports by either demining or identifying safe corridors.” “Nothing else is required,” he concluded.