EU foreign policy chief hopes to reach agreement soon in Türkiye-led talks to unlock Ukrainian grain

BRUSSELS

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed hope on Monday that Türkiye-led diplomatic efforts to unblock Ukrainian grain exports will result in a deal this week.

Borrell spoke to reporters on his way to a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

“I hope that this week it will be possible to reach an agreement to unblock Odessa and other Ukrainian boats” to ship grain, he said of the negotiations led by Türkiye.

He noted that “this is not a diplomatic game” because the lives of “tens of thousands of people depend on this agreement”.

Borrell also ruled out stopping “support for Ukraine and imposing sanctions on Russia” even if Moscow threatens to cut gas supplies to the bloc.

He explained that EU foreign ministers will discuss an import ban on Russian gold and other amendments to existing sanctions for “better implementation”.

The ministers will also discuss plans to step up military aid to Ukraine, and the country’s top diplomat, Dmytro Kuleba, will also participate in the morning session, Borrell added.

In the afternoon, EU ministers will also discuss the bloc’s relations with Latin America, recent developments in the EU accession process of North Macedonia and Albania, and digital diplomacy.

The EU has imposed six rounds of sanctions against Russia since the country began its war against Ukraine on February 24.

The packages target, among others, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, ban oil and coal imports and the export of luxury goods, as well as exclude Russian and Belarusian banks from the use of the SWIFT system.

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