Zelenskiy wants NATO-Ukraine Council to meet over Black Sea grain issue

July 22 (Reuters) – Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday he had asked the head of NATO to convene a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council to discuss security in the Black Sea, particularly the operation of a corridor for Ukrainian grain exports.

Russia this week pulled out of the U.N.-backed grain corridor deal, saying Western countries had ignored its demands to ensure Moscow’s food and fertilizer exports. Russia said ships heading to Ukraine’s Black Sea ports could be considered military targets.

In his nightly video address, Zelenskiy said he had asked NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during a telephone call to convene the council, which was set up at this month’s NATO summit.

“In our cooperation, we have moved to a new, more advanced level, the NATO-Ukraine Council, and this mechanism can have an impact,” Zelenskiy said.

“I proposed to Jens that the council be convened without delay for relevant crisis consultations. The meeting will take place in the coming days. We can overcome the security crisis in the Black Sea.”

There was no immediate indication whether NATO had agreed to such a proposal.

The United Nations’ aid chief told the U.N. Security Council on Friday that a spike in grain prices since Russia quit the deal “potentially threatens hunger and worse for millions of people.”

Reporting by Ron Popeski and Nick Starkov; Editing by Paul Simao

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