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First Ukraine-NATO Council meeting to be convened over Russia’s Black Sea attacks

Ukraine has convened the first Ukraine-NATO council to address the situation with Russia’s obstruction of the grain corridor and strikes on port cities. The meeting will take place on Wednesday
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference in NATO HQ. Brussels, 7 July 2023. Photo: screenshot from the official video.
First Ukraine-NATO Council meeting to be convened over Russia’s Black Sea attacks

Ukraine Calls for Urgent NATO Talks After Russia Withdraws Black Sea Security Guarantees Ukraine has requested an urgent meeting with NATO after Russia withdrew its security guarantees for shipping in the Black Sea, jeopardizing a deal to unblock Ukrainian grain exports.

The meeting is slated for Wednesday, 26 July, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed, according to spokesperson Oana Lungescu, who was quoted by DW.

The parties will meet “to consult on latest developments and to discuss arrangements for getting Ukrainian grain out through the Black Sea,” she stated. According to Lungescu, the meeting will take place at the level of ambassadors.

This meeting happens thanks to the new format of Ukraine-NATO relations — the Ukraine-NATO Council, which was established at the recent NATO summit in Vilnius instead of extending a membership invitation to Ukraine. The council is intended as a platform for Ukraine-NATO consultations in crises. 

Zelenskyy mentioned he had requested this meeting in his evening address of 22 July, saying he had “discussed with Secretary General Stoltenberg our steps on unblocking and ensuring sustainable operation of the ‘grain corridor’.”

After the call, Stoltenberg stressed NATO would continue supporting Ukraine for “as long as it takes.” He said Ukraine was “closer to NATO now than ever before” following the recent NATO summit in Vilnius. “We strongly condemn Moscow’s attempts to weaponize food,” the NATO chief wrote on Twitter.

  • On 17 July, Russia withdrew from the “grain deal” brokered by Türkiye and the UN, after which it began missile strikes on Ukraine’s port infrastructure.
  • On 19 July, Russia declared it was revoking security guarantees for shipping, saying vessels bound for Ukrainian ports would be considered carriers of military cargo regardless of flag. Ukraine responded in kind, stating ships sailing in the Black Sea toward Russian or Russian-occupied Ukrainian ports would also be treated as military cargo transports.
  • In recent days, Russian forces have also conducted regular missile and drone strikes on southern Ukraine. On 19 July, Russia attacked terminals and infrastructure at the ports of Odesa and Chornomorsk. Tanks and piers at Odesa port were damaged along with the grain infrastructure of international and Ukrainian traders, including Kernel, Viterra, and CMA CGM Group. And today, 23 July, Russia destroyed the largest and oldest Orthodox Cathedral of Odesa in its night missile attack.
  • Ukraine has accused Russia of seeking to isolate Ukraine from the Black Sea and halt its grain exports. It says that with the strikes, Russia blackmails the West to accept its demands to resume the grain corridor.



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