EU reiterates support for Black Sea grain deal

EU reiterates support for Black Sea grain deal

European Council chief pays tribute to sufferings of Crimean Tatars at 3rd Crimea Platform summit

By Agnes Szucs

BRUSSELS (AA) - European Council President Charles Michel on Wednesday voiced support for the efforts of the UN and Türkiye to get the Black Sea grain deal on track.

“We continue to support the efforts of the United Nations and Turkey to get the Black Sea Grain Initiative back up running,” Michel said in a video message addressing the third summit of the Crimea Platform.

Noting that Russia withdrew in July from the Türkiye- and UN-brokered deal to export Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea, Michel said: “Russia also continues to weaponize food, including by blockading and attacking your seaports. And this cruel Russian tactic hits the most vulnerable around the globe hardest.”

The European Council chief also reiterated the EU’s backing for Ukraine’s “fight for freedom” and “our common values.”

Michel ruled out recognizing “any illegal attempt to change the status of Ukraine’s territories, including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.”

“And last September, just like they did in Crimea, Russia tried to illegally annex Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia, and this is again a cynical attempt to grab more land, to steal the identity of Ukrainian citizens, to abduct your children and to drive people from their homeland, like they are doing to the Tatars,” he said.

Launched in 2021 on the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence, the Crimea Platform is an international consultation and coordination format with the participation of governments, experts, and international organizations.

The event supports the de-occupation and return to Ukraine of the Crimean Peninsula which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Over the past eight years, the EU has applied different sanctions regimes in response to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, as well as to the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

The bloc has also slapped eleven sets of sanctions against Russia since the beginning of the country’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24., 2022.

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