An international naval coalition should be put together to ensure ships carrying Ukrainian grain can leave Black Sea ports amid an alleged Russian blockade of the coastline, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis has suggested.
Landsbergis proposed the idea during talks with UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in London on Monday, as he explained to the Guardian in an interview. Truss reportedly voiced Britain’s support in principle for such a coalition.
Russia has denied that it’s imposing a naval blockade on Ukraine, calling the reports “speculation,” and saying Kiev itself has caused logistical problems for shipping by planting mines in its own ports.
But according to the Lithuanian foreign minister, “a coalition of the willing – countries with significant naval power” is required to protect shipping routes in the Black Sea from Russia.
This naval escort operation should not involve NATO, Landsbergis said. “This would be a non-military humanitarian mission and is not comparable with a no-fly zone,” he told the Guardian.