400.000.000 people waiting for Ukrainian exports globally
The Ukrainian president has told the African Union that the continent has been “taken hostage” in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amid catastrophically rising food prices. Volodymyr Zelensky warned the global food crisis will continue “as long as this colonizing war goes on,” affecting the lives of as many as 400 million people all over the world who depend on Ukrainian exports.
“Our main task right now is to eliminate the threat of famine. In the 21st century this threat simply cannot be, thanks to Ukraine and thanks to our agrarian industry,” he said.
“If it wasn’t for the Russia’s war, you would be in a different situation right now – in a totally secure situation. Therefore, to avoid famine, the attempts of countries like Russia to return the colonial policy of landgrabs has to come to an end,” Zelensky said.
The German railway is planning to assist with Ukraine’s grain exports, and relevant trial operations are expected to be completed in July 2022, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ukraine Anka Feldhusen during an online briefing.
“We want to help. The German railway is actively working with Ukrainian partners to carry out trial operations. I really hope we will complete such operations in July and will be able to export [Ukrainian] grain on a daily basis,” Feldhusen said.
Hungary has offered its territory as a possible route for Ukrainian grain exports due to the disruption of usual routes via the Black Sea caused by Russia’s invasion, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Monday.
New confrontation between Moscow and EU
Lithuania on Monday defended its decision to bar rail transit from Russia to a Russian Baltic Sea exclave of goods hit by European Union sanctions, in a move that drew Moscow’s strong anger amid high tensions in the region.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said his country was simply implementing sanctions imposed by the EU, of which it is a member. He said the measures implemented Saturday were taken after “consultation with the European Commission and under its guidelines.” “Sanctioned goods (will) no longer be allowed to transit Lithuanian territory,” Landsbergis added.
Russia has demanded that Lithuania immediately lifts the ban, with the Foreign Ministry in Moscow saying that if transport links are not restored in full “Russia reserves the right to take action in defense of its national interests.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov strongly denounced the “unlawful” ban.
“Russia has no right to threaten Lithuania. Moscow itself is to blame for the consequences of its unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine. We highly appreciate the principled position of Lithuania and firmly support our Lithuanian friends,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reacted on Twitter.
Switzerland to host URC2022
The Ukraine Reform Conference (URC2022) scheduled to take place on 4 and 5 July has been renamed the Ukraine Recovery Conference to reflect the new focus of the gathering. The way to rebuild Ukraine is through a broad-based political and diplomatic process. Switzerland and Ukraine want to start this process in Lugano. Discussions will focus on Ukraine’s reconstruction and development program and on contributions from international partners.
The participation of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Shmyhal is confirmed, but in what form (physical or virtual) depends on how the situation evolves.
Russia suspends Kazakh oil shipments, Kazakhstani blocks transit of Russian coal
Russia has suspended shipments of Kazakh oil from the port of Novorossiysk on the Black Sea coast. The official reason is to work on the removal of unexploded WWII torpedoes and mines. It is reported that at least until the end of the month, oil shipments will be halted.
Instead, Kazakhstan blocked the transit of Russian coal through its territory due to the imposition of European sanctions against Russia.
Kazakhstan considers the so-called “DNR” and “LNR” quasi-states, as the President of Kazakhstan Kasim-Zhomart Tokayev noted at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Humans, most precious… merchandise for aggressors
Russia illegally holds 1,500 Ukrainian civilians in prison, but admits it only holds 120 civilians, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine Irina Vereshchuk stated at a briefing. She said that according to the Geneva Conventions, captured military personnel can be exchanged, but the provisions of the conventions do not apply to the civilian population. Accordingly, there is no mechanism for the return of the captured civilian population.
According to her, among the Ukrainian civilians abducted by Russia, there are volunteers, activists, journalists, priests, deputies of local councils, heads of communities, who have already been in captivity for 70-80, and some for more than 100 days.
The Ukrainian data on the deportees differ from the figures announced by the Russian side. “They talk about almost 2 million. Our intelligence data suggests that this is about 1 million 200 thousand people,” Vereshchuk said and added that for the return of these people will have to fight. In addition, there are 240,000 children among them.
Ukraine among Three Seas
The Three Seas Initiative, a project aiming to develop enhanced transport and energy infrastructure in the region, has offered partnership to Ukraine, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has announced.
“We have decided to create a special, new type of partnership within the Three Seas Initiative, apart from the strategic partnership, a participatory partnership... we have awarded it to Ukraine,” Mr Duda said at the 7th Three Seas Summit in Riga, Latvia, on Monday.
The Three Seas Initiative brings together 12 Central and Eastern European countries that are members of the EU: Visegrad Group countries, the Baltic states, Austria, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia, and Bulgaria. The main focus of the Initiative is on the development of infrastructure projects.