Turkey backs lifting of sanctions against Russia

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on June 8 that Russia’s demand for an end to sanctions against the country was “legitimate”.

Turkey supports lifting sanctions against Russia - 1

Turkey supports lifting sanctions against Russia. (Photo: AP)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu commented: “If we need to open up the international market for Ukrainian grain, it is also a legitimate need to remove obstacles that hinder Russian exports.”

Meanwhile, at a press conference in Ankara, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov added that Moscow is ready to ensure the safety of grain ships from Ukraine.

“We are ready to ensure the safety of ships leaving Ukrainian ports”said Mr. Sergey Lavrov and confirmed his readiness to do this with his Turkish colleagues.

The Russian foreign minister arrived in Ankara on June 7 amid global concern about the risk of food shortages, citing the conflict in Ukraine as one of the main causes. Sanctions imposed on Moscow’s financial system have also hampered Russian grain and fertilizer exports.

At the request of the United Nations, Turkey provided escort services for freight trains from Ukrainian ports, despite the mines on the coast. Cavusoglu said the UN plan was “reasonable” and “workable”, and suggested holding a meeting in Istanbul to discuss the details.

On the same day, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio warned that millions of people could starve to death unless Russia lifted its blockade of Ukraine’s ports.

“The next few weeks will be crucial to resolve the situation,” he said at a meeting attended by Turkey and many other countries, and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said that rising prices of fuel and basic food were exacerbating the country’s crisis. So, “the war in Ukraine must stop at any cost”, and “stakeholders… must be pressured to allow the safe export of grains and other commodities without delay”.

Russia has always denied blocking food exports from Ukraine and insists Ukrainian grain ships cannot leave port because Ukrainian forces have mined mines in the area.

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