Statement by the Republic of Estonia on behalf of the Republic of Latvia and the Republic of Lithuania
UN Security Council Briefing on Maintenance of Peace and Security of Ukraine
21 July 2023
During the last 513 days, Russian Federation has proven countless times how much misery they can reign on the Ukrainian people and worldwide.
Russian decision to unilaterally terminate the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative is another example. Russia alone is responsible for the global food security crisis it created by its war of aggression against Ukraine. Now it is stopping this most valuable global and UN success story which managed to export over 32 million tonnes of grain to global markets and fed those in need. By weaponizing food Russia has deliberately put hundreds of millions of people globally under the threat of starving to death. For the fourth day in a row Russia has been striking granaries and food export facilities in Ukraine, aiming to incapacitate Ukraine’s ability to ship food. The direct attacks on Ukraine’s grain, a key part of the global food chain, hours before the United Nations Security Council’s meeting to discuss the threat to the global food supply, is yet another example of Russia’s disregard to the Council’s authority and mockery at international law. The recent airstrike on Odessa port facilities alone, where Ukrainian grain is shipped out from, destroyed 60 thousand tonnes of Ukrainian grain. Last night, another 100 tonnes of peas and 20 tonnes of barley were destroyed by a Russian airstrike. Moreover, Russia has stated that it will treat all vessels heading to and from Ukrainian ports as potential belligerents. Russia is thereby violating its obligations as to the right of peaceful navigation not just to Ukraine, but to all flag States operating in the Black Sea.
Russia has subsided to their usual deceitful propaganda, putting entire blame on the so called collective West. Russia´s blackmail in relation to BSGI is based on manipulation of facts regarding its grain and fertilisers exports. If Russia would be prioritising global food security as it claims, it would have stopped inventing obstacles to the work of the Joint Coordination Center and continuation of the initiative. In reality the entire global food crisis has been shaped by Russian aggression. Today Russia´s agricultural business and loyalist oligarchs are fatting up from another carefully engineered grain price hike at the expense of those in need globally. All this in hopes to keep Putin´s unprovoked and unjust neo-colonial war against Ukraine ongoing.
In these circumstances we urgently need to provide Ukraine with political and economic support as well as with the additional adequate means to protect itself from this barbaric destruction. On our side we will continue to support Ukraine as long as it takes to restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity within internationally recognised borders and to build up the country again. Let me also remind that in addition to fully functioning EU Solidarity Lanes, infrastructure of the Baltic States can serve as a viable and trusted additional route for exports and transit of Ukrainian products, including grain. Five seaports of the Baltic States altogether have the annual capacity of 25 million tons of grain solely and are ready to deliver.
We support President Zelensky’s efforts to remain a guarantor of global food security and create a platform for dialogue with African countries.
To conclude, we strongly condemn Russia for unilaterally terminating the Black Sea Grain Initiative. This step is absolutely irresponsible. It drives prices up and clearly fuels the global hunger. As the Secretary-General recalled, the destruction of civilian infrastructure may constitute a violation of international humanitarian law. And indeed Russia is not even hiding that they deliberately destroying Ukrainian economy and agricultural sector that served for decades as a global grain bin, thus severely undermining the global food security. We call upon Russia to stop this terror immediately.