Ukraine has dismissed as “empty words” assurances from Russia that the Kremlin will not use the situation to its advantage if Kyiv allows grain shipments to leave safely via the Black Sea.
“Military equipment is required to protect the coastline and a navy mission to patrol the export routes in the Black Sea,” foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko tweeted.
“Russia cannot be allowed to use grain corridors to attack southern Ukraine.”
Earlier Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, said Ukraine had Vladimir Putin “guarantees” that shipments would not be affected if the Kremlin’s vessels were allowed to sail safely.
Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, corn and sunflower oil, but the war and a Russian blockade of its ports have halted much of that flow, endangering food supplies to many developing countries.