EU state calls for naval coalition to escort Ukrainian grain — RT World News

24 May, 2022 08:25

EU state calls for naval coalition to escort Ukrainian grain

Lithuania says ‘willing’ countries should join
efforts to lift what it calls a Russian blockade in the Black Sea
international naval coalition should be put together to ensure ships
carrying Ukrainian grain can leave Black Sea ports amid an alleged
Russian blockade of the coastline, Lithuanian Foreign Minister
Gabrielius Landsbergis has suggested.

Landsbergis proposed the
idea during talks with UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in London on
Monday, he explained to the Guardian in an interview. Truss reportedly
voiced Britain’s support, in principle, for such a coalition.

Russia has denied that it’s imposing a naval blockade on Ukraine, calling the reports “speculation,” and insisting that Kiev itself has caused logistical problems for shipping by planting mines in its own ports.

But according to the Lithuanian foreign minister, “a coalition of the willing – countries with significant naval power” is required to protect shipping routes in the Black Sea from Russia.

This naval escort operation should not involve NATO, Landsbergis said. “This would be a non-military humanitarian mission and is not comparable with a no-fly zone,” he told the Guardian.

Not only Britain, but countries that have been hit by grain
shortages, including Egypt, could join the operation, the diplomat

“Time is very very short. We are closing in on a
new harvest and there is no other practical way of exporting the grain
except through the Black Sea port of Odessa,” he insisted. “It is imperative that we show vulnerable countries we are prepared to take the steps that are needed to feed the world.”

Landsbergis said he believes that “in
this endeavor military ships or planes or both would be used to ensure
that the grain supplies can leave Odessa safely and reach the Bosphorus
without Russian interference.”

However, he acknowledged that
carrying out such a plan would require demining some areas and getting
approval from Turkey, which controls the entrance to the Black Sea and
could view the escort operation as escalatory.

According to the
Guardian, after the meeting, Truss said Britain would be willing to
provide its ships for the escort mission if the issues raised by
Landsbergis are resolved.

“What we need to do is
deal with this global food security issue and the UK is working on an
urgent solution to get the grain out of Ukraine,” she was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

With Russia and Ukraine accounting for some 30% of global wheat
exports, the conflict between the two neighbors has put the world on the
brink of “a hurricane of hunger and a meltdown of the global food system,” according to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov agreed with Guterres’ concerns on Monday, saying “that is true,” while insisting Russia was “not
the source of the problem which is causing the threat of world hunger.
The sources of this problem are those who imposed sanctions, and the
sanctions themselves.”

He said Ukrainian forces have planted naval mines in the Black Sea, making shipping in the area “virtually impossible.”

to Peskov, Kiev could also use rail routes to export its grain. Poland
sends trains with weapons to Ukraine, and “no one prevents them from
exporting grain back on the same trains,” he said.

EU won’t let Ukraine run out of weapons – top diplomat — RT World News

17 May, 2022 19:23

EU won’t let Ukraine run out of weapons – top diplomat

Josep Borrell has promised Kiev a never-ending supply
European Union will not let Ukraine run out of equipment,” EU foreign
policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters on Tuesday in Brussels
following a meeting of European defense ministers.

The diplomat theorized that Russia may have suffered “impressive losses
since attacking Ukraine, suggesting casualties of as many as 15% of its
troops, but demurred when asked how long he felt the war might
continue, stating “I wouldn’t dare to make an hypothesis about how long Russia can resist.”

On Friday, Borrell announced another $526 million (€500 million)
package of lethal aid to be sent to Kiev, bringing the total amount
pledged to $2.11 billion (€2 billion). The money would buy heavy weapons
such as tanks and artillery, he said, adding that he was also
optimistic the continental alliance would reach an elusive agreement on a
Russian oil embargo.

The promised embargo failed to materialize
on Monday as the EU devised its sixth package of anti-Russia sanctions.
Hungary, said to be the last remaining holdout, has demanded hundreds of
millions of dollars in compensation, having repeatedly argued that
cutting itself off from Russian oil and gas would do significantly more
harm to its own people than to Moscow.

Following Russia’s attack
on Ukraine, the EU took the unprecedented step of providing €450 million
in lethal aid to Kiev, with several member states following suit. The
bloc previously had a policy of not supplying weapons to countries
involved in a conflict. In attempting to justify the decision, Borrell
declared that “we live in unprecedented times,” arguing “this war requires our engagement in order to support the Ukrainian army.” While Ukraine is seeking to join both the EU and NATO, it is currently a member of neither alliance.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed doubt that Western states seek to benefit Ukraine: “Nobody
cares about Ukraine. Ukraine is an ‘expendable material’ in the proxy
war against Russia. There can be no doubts about it now. It has been
voiced publicly.”

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February,
following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk
agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of
the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and
French-brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway
regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has
since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country
that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the
Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was
planning to retake the two republics by force.

What sanctions has the EU proposed? |BBC

Comment by tonytran2015: EU is about to reduce its heavy reliance on Russian energy.

EU paying a high price for Russian energy|BBC

Comment by tonytran2015: There is disunity in EU about how to embargo energy sale from Russia. Germany and Hungary are running on Russian energy.

Russia offers India way of bypassing Western sanctions – media — RT Business News

30 Apr, 2022 14:46

Russia offers India way of bypassing Western sanctions – media

Moscow reportedly wants dollar payments for oil, ruble or rupee for rest
Russia offers India way of bypassing Western sanctions – media
has reportedly proposed a plan for India to pay for Russian oil in US
dollars or euro, while using a rupee-ruble-denominated mechanism for
other goods.

The new mechanism is designed to allow more trade in
local currencies as economic pressure mounts on Russia over its military
operation in neighboring Ukraine, according to people with knowledge of
the matter quoted by Bloomberg.

The proposals were reportedly
discussed between Russian central bank officials and their Indian
counterparts with the participation of officials from the finance

On Saturday, Indian External Affairs Ministry
spokesperson Arindam Bagchi confirmed that an inter-ministerial group is
looking at resolving issues relating to payment mechanisms with Moscow
in order to stabilize the country’s economic engagement with Russia.

India is among a number of major economies that have kept trading
with Russia since the launch of the operation despite mounting pressure
on New Delhi from Western nations to scale back its economic and
military ties with Moscow. India has not publicly condemned the
operation so far.

India’s imports from Russia rose to $8.69
billion in the first 11 months of the 2021-22 financial year, which is
58% higher than the total imports of $5.48 billion recorded in the full
financial year 2020-21, the Indian government reported earlier this
month. Meanwhile, exports to Russia rose to $3.18 billion in the period
from April to February in 2021-22 from $2.65 billion.

EU and UK to Meet Russia’s Demand to Pay for Gas in Rubles – Global Research

On April 1, a decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin
came into force, requiring nonfriendly countries that have imposed
illegal sanctions on Moscow to pay for Russian gas in rubles.

Under the European Commission’s proposal, companies will transfer
their payments in euros or dollars to a bank account in Russia, from
where the currency will be converted into rubles. Payments will be
completed once the foreign currency is deposited in the Russian bank.

Amid sanctions imposed by London on Gazprom, the British Treasury has
issued a temporary waiver allowing British companies to transfer funds
to Russia’s Gazprombank to pay for gas. UK firms will be able to meet
Moscow’s new demand to pay for gas in rubles through the waiver of
sanctions, which will last until May 31.

The Russian ruble-based mechanism emerged in response to sanctions
imposed by European and Western countries since the start of Moscow’s
special military operation in Ukraine on February 24. Russia has said
that this mechanism will provide the country with payment guarantees.

Similarly, the decree also followed the decision of Western
governments to illegally freeze the foreign currency assets of the
Central Bank of Russia held in their countries. Moscow recently promised
to take those governments to court over the measure to fight for the
freeing up of the funds.