Ukraine’s Ex-President on Future Grain Shipments, Military Aid, and China’s Role as Mediator

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A UN-brokered deal that Ukraine and Russia struck last year to allow grain shipments from Black Sea ports is set to expire on Saturday, although negotiators are working on a 120-day extension.

On Wednesday, Granthshala interviewed former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko via satellite about the grain deal, who was behind the attack on the Nord Stream pipeline last year, and international arms shipments re-supplying Ukrainian forces. Allegations about

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Poroshenko, who led Ukraine from 2014-2019, also discussed how he sees China’s role as a mediator in the conflict.


This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Granthshala: The whole world is waiting for the extension of the grain deal. This is one of many, if not the only, agreement with the Russian Federation that is in the works. The UN and Turkey say talks are ongoing, and Ukraine has rejected Russian pressure for a 60-day renewal, offering 120 days instead. From your point of view, how fragile is this agreement?

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Former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko: First of all everyone should understand the real aim and goal of Russia. And there is a food crisis all over the world because Russia tried to weaponize everything, food, energy and everything else under its influence. In this situation, I am quite clear that we must thank the United Nations for the inspiration; We should thank Turkey. And I support Ukraine’s position to extend the minimum period of 120 days.

The second position with the Black Sea Grain Initiative, that’s the official name of the project, is that Ukraine must demonstrate complete openness and transparency and accountability with access to the grain corridor of all premium products as fully assured to everyone. Should be that access to the grain corridor is free, and support, the world’s fight against hunger, and support, Ukrainian ability to make an impact on this hunger. And with that position, I cross my fingers that our unity with a full democratic world, the United Nations and Turkey will definitely bring results.

Granthshala: American and German media, citing unnamed sources, reported about a pro-Ukrainian group that may have blown up the Nord Stream pipeline. Journalists say the group has no ties to the Ukrainian government. you must have read those articles Washington Post And the new York Times, The United States is very cautious about the initial assessment of these explosions. And according to our sources, there is some tension over how this topic may or may not affect cooperation between Kiev and Washington on military aid. Do you think those concerns are relevant?

Poroshenko: First of all, I have always believed and continue to believe that the Nord Stream project, as I said earlier, is not an energy project or an economic project. It symbolizes the weaponization of Russia’s energy policy.

Granthshala: As the President of Ukraine, you urged your European colleagues about this.

Poroshenko: Absolutely! And tried its best since 2015 to block, stop and postpone this process of construction of Nord Stream. But at the same time, I want to confirm that I, as the fifth President of Ukraine, act as the Ukrainian authority, and Ukraine as a state, at all times, in accordance with international law.

And I can see that this attack, regardless of who organized it, whoever is releasing this information, is an attack on transatlantic unity. And the only people who are the beneficiaries of this attack are Russia – Russia who wants to break our unity at the most critical point of the war. And we certainly don’t allow anyone to discredit our unity. This is my personal position. This is the position of Ukraine, my team, the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people.

We must unite and give no chance to any enemy of Ukraine, any aggressor to attack our unity. That’s why it is important not to spread fake news. It is important to provide a transparent investigation with the participation of Ukraine, if necessary. Test that can give confidence. And with that condition, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be exactly what I said.

Granthshala: In short, do you see anything that could affect the flow of arms from the Western Allies to Ukraine?

Poroshenko: This is definitely Mr. (Vladimir) Putin’s sweet dream. And of course, we shouldn’t give him the slightest chance of realizing this dream. What stunned the world and Putin from the very first day of the massive attack was the unity in Ukraine, which we, including my team, demonstrated from the first hours after February 24.

And now, global unity, global solidarity with Ukraine, and total and complete isolation of Russia. It is also an important factor for the sustainable security situation on the continent. It is an important factor for our victory, an important factor for our peace.

And today’s (Wednesday) meeting at Ramstein, which is now underway, should strike a new ammunition deal and the supplies we needed in the form of air. Many of my team members and many of my close friends are now in Bakhmut. And this is a direct message I want to convey to you from them: We are short of ammunition. Any delay in the supply of ammunition, armored personnel carriers, air defence, long-range artillery, long-range missiles or any suspension will not only affect the April counter-offensive. But the fact remains that Ukraine is now paying a very high price on the entire front line.

Please, do your best to expedite the delivery. And I very much welcome the initiative in the United States Senate today, a bipartisan initiative that seeks to accelerate and increase the amount of supply. It is important.

Granthshala: Mr. Poroshenko, you are saying that the world should not trust Putin. But should the world trust China? Do you welcome China’s attempt to mediate, even though they have neither condemned nor tried to stop Russia from attacking Ukraine?

Poroshenko: First, everyone must understand that the key to peace certainly does not lie in Washington, Kiev or Beijing. The key to peace lies in Putin’s hands in Moscow. And we need to do every little thing to get organized pressure on Putin, starting on the battlefield and ending with good negotiations, to get Putin to stop the war, to withdraw Russian troops from Ukrainian soil. Chances should be used.

And from that position I can confirm that China’s role can be absolutely decisive. And if we can use the Chinese factor, we certainly need to do so as soon as possible. At the same time, we must not allow any attempt to supply arms to military criminal Mr. Putin. And in this situation, I think the document that the Chinese have is not a peace plan. This is 12 digits. This is the demand of the process. And I certainly recommend that China should be involved in the process. But what is the way to contain China? During my presidency, we presented to the world, and it certainly can work so far: nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine. Together…

Ukraine’s Ex-President on Future Grain Shipments, Military Aid, and China’s Role as Mediator

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