Connect with us

News

Ukraine needs more air defenses to protect grain exports, Zelenskyy says

Published

on

This picture taken on September 20, 2023 shows trains with Ukrainian grain stored in wagons covered with white tarpaulin on the second and third tracks in Dorohusk station at the Polish-Ukrainian border.

Damien Simonart | AFP | Getty Images

Ukraine needs more air defenses to protect its grain export routes as well as regions bordering Russia, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday, as he addressed an international summit on food security in Kyiv.

“There is a deficit of air defense – that is no secret,” Zelenskyy told the Grain from Ukraine summit, which was attended by senior officials from European countries, including Swiss President Alain Berset and Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte.

Zelenskyy was speaking after Russia attacked Ukraine with 75 drones overnight, the biggest drone assault of the war. The joint press conference of the three leaders was cut short by another air raid siren.

Advertisement

Zelenskyy said Ukraine would be supplied by its foreign partners with vessels to accompany convoys of cargo ships from Ukraine’s ports to guarantee their security.

“I have agreements with several countries about powerful accompaniment of convoys by Ukrainians, but using (foreign) equipment,” he said.

Separately, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledged support in a letter to Zelenskyy that she shared on social media platform X, saying the Commission would make available 50 million euros for “quick repairs and upgrades of infrastructure in Ukraine’s ports.”

The Ukrainian president said Kyiv hoped to solve its air defense shortage through new supplies from partners and increasing its own production capacity, something on which he said there had been progress.

“As of today, I can’t say details what we are making and where, but there is progress,” he said.

Ukraine, a major exporter of grain, has been exporting grain via unilateral corridors through the Black sea, after Russia withdrew in July from a UN-brokered deal to allow grain ships through its blockade.

Ukraine’s current Black sea grain export corridors all start from ports in Ukraine’s southern region of Odesa.

Advertisement

“There are certain air defense systems… we are asking for them,” Zelenskyy said. “We’ve already got an answer when those systems will start to guard that region. Because there, both the corridor and the people are important.”

Asked about the protests by Polish and Slovak truckers which have blocked much of Ukraine’s road-based cargo supply in recent days, Zelenskyy blamed the problem on the internal politics of those countries.

“I believe that there are difficulties on the border first and foremost because of certain political steps by our neighbors,” he told a press conference after the summit.

Zelenskyy said he was confident the issue would be solved if Ukraine’s neighbors were given “a bit of time” to deal with the dispute.

Source: CNBC

Advertisement

Follow us on Google News to get the latest Updates

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending