Ukraine minister says grain deal only possible because of military successes

Ukraine's Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov signs a deal on restarting Black Sea grain exports, in Istanbul, on July 22, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

KYIV (REUTERS) - Ukraine's infrastructure minister, who signed the UN-led deal to unblock Ukraine's ports for grain exports in Turkey on Friday (July 22), said the agreement was only possible thanks to Ukraine's military successes.

Speaking on television, infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov cited the recapture of Snake Island, a small but strategically located outcrop near several key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea, as an "important moment".

Kubrakov also said that Ukraine does not see the risk of Russian ships reaching Ukrainian ports through green corridors agreed by the deal, as they would be fired upon by Ukrainian missiles in the case of such an attempt.

Later on Friday, Ukraine's defence intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said on television that Ukraine's coast was defended by onshore rocket systems, and that Russia had tried and failed to get several "unacceptable" conditions for Ukraine into the deal.

"Russia really wanted to escort grain convoys with warships, wanted to inspect some things on Ukrainian territory, and so on," Budanov said.

"But none of these points will be implemented. And Russia eventually agreed to this," he added.

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