NATO said on Saturday, that it will discuss with Ukraine in the coming days the security situation in the Black Sea, at the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
NATO spokeswoman said that NATO-Ukraine Council set up during the alliance’s summit this month would discuss the situation after Russia’s withdrawal from the year-old pact that oversees grain exports from Ukrainian ports.
Zelensky said that he requested the meeting during a phone call with the Secretary-General of the military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg.
Zelensky and Stoltenberg discussed Russia’s withdrawal from the agreement and its continuous attempts to weaponize food, which affects millions of vulnerable people around the world.
The meeting will be held at the ambassadorial level.
The inaugural meeting of the Council, during the Alliance Summit in Vilnius, was attended by heads of state or government.
“We’ve moved to a new, more advanced level in our cooperation, which is the NATO-Ukraine Council, and this mechanism can have an impact,” Zelensky said in his video speech on Saturday evening.
He continued, “I suggested to Jens that the council convene without delay to hold consultations about the crisis… The meeting will take place in the coming days… We can overcome the security crisis in the Black Sea”.
Russia last week withdrew from the UN-backed deal to export grain across the Black Sea, saying Western countries had ignored its demands to remove obstacles to its food and fertilizer exports.
Russia said ships bound for Ukraine’s Black Sea ports could be considered military targets.
UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said on Friday that the sharp rise in grain prices following Russia’s withdrawal from a deal to export Ukraine’s grain across the Black Sea has the potential to threaten millions of people with starvation and worse.