Doha, 05 March 2023
By ASHRAF SIDDIQUI
Ukraine is the only country which has continued to export grains to other countries even in midst of war and occupation of its territories, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the State of Qatar Andreii Kuzmenko has said.
“Ukraine has so far exported 50 million tonnes of grains under Black Sea Grain Initiative programme,” he told a press conference held at the Ukrainian Embassy in Doha.
Two UN task forces on the talks were established in parallel. The first task force was on the shipment of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea. It was led by UN Humanitarian Affairs Chief and Head of CCHA Martin Griffths. The other was on facilitating exports of Russian food and fertilizers. It was headed by Rebecca Grynspan,
Secretary General, UN Trade and development body (UNCTAD). HE Andreii Kuzmenko expressed his gratitude to Qatar for announcing the $20 million support for ‘Grain from Ukraine’, humanitarian programme. The programme aimed at helping needy countries to obtain grains exported by Ukraine.
The programme accumulated funds of more than $180 million for supply Ukrainian food to countries in Africa and Asia that suffer most from famine. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy launched ‘Grain from Ukraine’ programme during the founding International Summit on Food Security. More than 30 countries and international organisations had declared their support for the project.
Ambassador Kuzmenko said his country has been source of grains to most parts of the world. Over half billion people globally are suffering starvation due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Most affected people are from least developed countries in Africa, Middle East and Asia.
The envoy said that export of grains from Ukraine was completely blocked by Russia since start of the full scale war. However, under the UN intervention, Black Sea Grain Initiative was set up and from the designated Ukraine ports of Chornomorsk, Odesa and Yuzhny/Pivdennyi, supply of grains to the needy countries was initiated.
He said that the war had severely damaged the infrastructure of Ukraine in addition to causing loss of innocent lives and property and displacing millions people. It has left one third of the power generating facilities of Ukraine damaged and also caused the GDP to shrink by one third.
Once the war is over and Ukraine is able to fully liberate its territories, an estimated US$38 billion would be required to reconstruct the infrastructure damaged till date, he added.
He thanked partners and friendly countries for their financial assistance of more than US$ 4.5 billion since beginning of the year.
He reiterated that there was no scope of mediation and talks with Russia unless and until all Ukraine territories are vacated by the occupied forces.
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