British Navy warships could be sent to protect freighters carrying Ukrainian grain

The UK, along with NATO allies, could send warships to the Black Sea port of Odessa to ensure safe passage for vital grain exports around the world and avoid global famine

The British Navy could be sent to Odessa to provide shelter for ships exporting grain
The British Navy could be sent to Odessa to provide shelter for ships exporting grain

Britain could send naval warships to work with NATO allies to create safe passage for grain exports from Odessa, sources say.

A Russian blockade of Black Sea ports could trigger global famine, putting millions of lives at risk as tons of grain wait to be shipped from Ukraine to the rest of the world.

Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain producers, used to export most of its goods through its seaports, but since Russia sent troops to Ukraine, it has been forced to export by train or through its small ports on the Danube.

And now Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said he had spoken with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss about creating a “protection corridor” from the port of Odessa.

He also reportedly said that some other NATO allies and grain-reliant countries like Egypt would be willing to provide military support.

Corn has accumulated in warehouses in Ukraine, which cannot be exported due to a Russian blockade


(Getty Images)

The operation would mean warships clearing the port of Odessa of mines and then providing them shelter as they cross the Black Sea, The Times reported.

It is also claimed that long-range missiles would be used as a deterrent.

The First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Julia Svyrydenko has called for such a corridor, saying it would help Ukraine and help avoid world hunger.

“It would take us 5, 6, 7 years to export all these agricultural crops. That’s why it’s extremely important for us now to free up the seaports,” she told the BBC in an interview at the World Economic Forum.

View of the warning mines sign on the Odessa beach


(Getty Images)

“We need a guarantee from partners, of course it’s a defense guarantee, a security guarantee.”

But any corridor aimed at ensuring safe passage for food exports from Odessa can only be done with Russian consent, a western official told Reuters on Monday.

“Clearly the Russians dominate this area. It would require permission from the Russians, some sort of agreement, to allow that to happen,” the Western official said on condition of anonymity.

“It would require some sort of security guarantee, I think, from Turkey to make it a reality. I think what we would have to rule out is the feeling that this could happen without Russia’s permission.”

It is feared that the Russian blockade could trigger a global famine


(Getty Images)

UN food chief David Beasley warned the UN Security Council in March that the World Food Program buys 50% of its grain from Ukraine and that the war is threatening WFP’s ability to feed some 125 million people worldwide.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also said that 36 countries count on Russia and Ukraine for more than half of their wheat imports, including some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and the Democratic Republic Congo.

Russia and Ukraine together account for almost a third of global wheat shipments. Ukraine is also a major exporter of corn, barley, sunflower oil and canola oil, while Russia and Belarus — which has backed Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine and is also under sanctions — account for more than 40% of global exports of the plant nutrient potash .

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