The decision of the Ministry of Defense to withdraw its personnel from the island seeks to demonstrate that Moscow in no way impedes maritime transportation in the region, including the passage of ships loaded with Ukrainian wheat.
“By removing the garrison from Zmeini Island we show that we are in no way hampering the UN’s efforts to organize a humanitarian corridor for the transportation of agribusiness products from Ukraine,” a ministry statement said.
The Ministry of Defense considered that this step eliminates the possibility of speculation on the part of Ukraine around a food crisis, by saying that the exit of wheat is impossible due to a alleged control exercised by Russian troops as a pretext.
In order to restore grain supplies, Ukraine will now have to demine the Black Sea coast and the port of Odessa, the ministry said.
The island, a strategic point in the Black Sea off the Ukrainian coast, was the subject of fierce clashes between the armed forces of Russia and Ukraine, with the latter failing in its attempts to retake the position.
The UN referred on several occasions to the threat of a food crisis due to a cereal deficit in the world, in the midst of the conflict in Ukraine and Western sanctions against Russia, which makes it difficult for it to sell grains on the international market.