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Iran Press TV

Ukraine slams NATO for 'doing nothing' about Russia's military operation

Iran Press TV

Thursday, 26 May 2022 9:53 AM

Ukraine has lashed out at NATO for "doing literally nothing" in the face of Russia's military operation in the ex-Soviet country, as Moscow says it will open Ukraine's Black Sea ports for safe exit of foreign ships.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba condemned NATO's inaction to help his country, while at the same time praised the European Union for what he called its "revolutionary" decisions to support Kiev.

"NATO as an alliance, as an institution, is completely sidelined and doing literally nothing. I'm sorry to say it," he told the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, while praising the EU for its "revolutionary, groundbreaking decisions, which even they themselves did not expect to make."

When Moscow began its "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24, there was a widespread sense among Ukrainians that it would be the US-led NATO, not the EU, that would rush to help their country.

"At the beginning of the war, there was a public sentiment that NATO was the strong force and the EU was only capable of expressing various different levels of concern," Kuleba further said, stressing, "But war is always a test that takes the masks off."

Ukraine's top diplomat, however, qualified his comments, saying some "NATO allies are helping us."

Ukraine has long complained about a lack of clarity from NATO about joining the US-led military alliance. Moscow is vigorously opposed to such membership.

Russia has already signaled a willingness to end the operation if Ukraine accepted Moscow's "security demands," which include Kiev's refusal to join NATO.

The European bloc has already imposed a barrage of sanctions against Russia since the onset of the operation. It even hopes to reach an agreement on an oil embargo on Moscow.

Russia says will open Ukraine's Black Sea ports

Separately on Wednesday, Russia's defense ministry announced that it would open a safe corridor for foreign ships to leave Ukraine's Black Sea ports, and the port in Mariupol, adding that the corridors would be open every day.

According to Mikhail Mizintsev, who heads the National Defense Control Center under the General Staff, 70 foreign vessels from 16 countries are now in six ports on the Black Sea, including Odesa, Kherson and Mykolaiv.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko also made similar remarks, saying Moscow is ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for ships carrying food to leave Ukraine, in return for the removing some sanctions.

"We have repeatedly stated on this point that a solution to the food problem requires a comprehensive approach, including the lifting of sanctions that have been imposed on Russian exports and financial transactions," he said, as reported by Interfax.

"And it also requires the demining by the Ukrainian side of all ports where ships are anchored. Russia is ready to provide the necessary humanitarian passage, which it does every day," Rudenko added.

The ongoing war, and its subsequent blockade, has endangered the world food supply by preventing Ukraine from shipping its agricultural products.

Ukraine, which is a major exporter of corn, barley, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil, used to export most of its goods through its main ports on the Black and Azov seas, but since the operation began, it has been forced to export by train or via its small Danube River ports.

The ongoing conflict has reduced its grain exports this month by more than half compared to a year ago.

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