Ukraine, UN and Türkiye can jointly ensure operation of food corridor and inspection of vessels – address of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

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17 July 2023

Dear Ukrainians, I wish you good health!

First. Today, I held a conference call – substantive reports. Front, security, supply of rounds. Commanders, SSU chief, intelligence chiefs – defense and foreign intelligence, minister of internal affairs, Defense Ministry. We do everything in detail and every day so that our soldiers have everything they need for active operations.

Second. I thank each of our rescuers, each policeman, each volunteer, and each doctor who save our people after Russian shelling. Today’s terrorist attacks on Sumy region, Kharkiv region, Donbas, Kherson region, and Zaporizhzhia will not go unanswered by our soldiers for sure.

Third. Food security. We are preparing a conversation with Mr. UN Secretary General…

Ukraine’s position has always been and will be as clear as possible – no one has the right to destroy the food security of any nation. If a bunch of people somewhere in the Kremlin think that they supposedly have the right to decide whether food will be on the table in different countries: Egypt or Sudan, Yemen or Bangladesh, China or India, Türkiye or Indonesia… then the world has an opportunity to show that blackmail is not allowed to anyone.

From the first day of the full-scale aggression, Russia destroyed navigation freedom in the Black and Azov seas. Russia hit our ports, grain terminals with missiles and drones, and even granaries were hit… The only possible consequence of this is the destabilization of food markets and social chaos in the countries critically dependent on food imports. Ukrainian food is basic security for four hundred million people…

Last year, the world took the right action regarding the Russian threat to food security – together with Türkiye and the UN, we launched the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Its results are eloquent – almost 33 million tonnes of agricultural products were exported to 45 countries. Sixty percent of the volumes went to the countries of Africa and Asia, in particular, these are Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan… They also were sent to China, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen… And it is very important – our food export allows saving lives in the countries, as I said, like Yemen and Somalia… different people… of different religions, different ethnic origins… But they all have the same right to life!

In addition to export, we also launched the Grain from Ukraine humanitarian initiative. Thirty-four donor states joined it. And I thank every donor who helped save people from starvation, primarily in African countries.

Everyone has a right to stability… Africa has the right to stability. Asia has the right to stability. Europe has every right to stability. And therefore, we must all care about security – about protection from Russian madness. And the Black Sea Grain Initiative can and should keep operating – if without Russia, then without Russia. The agreement on the export of grain – this is an agreement with Türkiye and the UN – remains valid. The only thing that is needed now is its careful implementation – and decisive pressure from the world on the terrorist state.

I have sent official letters to President of Türkiye Erdoğan and UN Secretary General Guterres with a proposal to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative or its analog in a trilateral format – as it is best. Ukraine, the UN and Türkiye can jointly ensure the operation of the food corridor and the inspection of vessels. It is necessary for everyone in the world – and everyone who supports it will become a savior of life in a huge territory from Morocco to China, from Indonesia to Lebanon.

One more.

I want to especially thank Sweden. Our Swedish friends have approved a strategy to help Ukraine, in particular with reconstruction… a strategy until 2027. This is very important – signals of long-term support. Support for life, restoration of life, support for the fact that Russian terror will clearly lose. Mr. Prime Minister Kristersson, the entire Government of Sweden, everyone in Sweden – I thank you very much!

Glory to everyone who helps us defend ourselves from Russian terror! Glory to each of our warriors! Glory to our beautiful people!

Glory to Ukraine!

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