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Spain: ‘Deprive Russia of capacity to produce missiles and drones’- Ukrainian FM calls for more stringent sanctions during EU ministerial meeting

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Ukrainian Minister for Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba called on EU members to intensify efforts to stop Russia producing missiles and drones through increased sanctions, while speaking at the meeting of foreign affairs ministers in Toledo on Thursday.

« We should deprive Russia of the capacity to produce missiles and drones. We see that the production is increasing, and they use Western elements, and Western spare parts in it, » he alleged.

« This is something that we have to take under control through export controls and fighting circumvention of sanctions, » he continued.

The comments came during the informal meeting – or ‘gymnich’ – of EU foreign affairs ministers, with EU high representative Josep Borrell and Spain’s Jose Manuel Albares Bueno sitting alongside Kuleba at the briefing.

Ukraine’s representative also called for Western ‘air defence systems’ to assist in an ‘alternative sea route’ for grain, following the collapse of the Black Sea initiative last month.

« We know that there will be a meeting between President Erdogan and President Putin and that is basically, almost the last chance to see Russia return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, » he said. « On a parallel track, we developed our alternative sea route where ships leave Ukrainian ports and almost immediately enter Romanian territorial waters. »

« Please consider how you can help secure this grain corridor while ships are still in the territorial waters of Ukraine and by saying help, I mean air defence systems, » he added.

Russia has repeatedly accused Western countries of escalating the Ukraine conflict with weapons deliveries, arguing supplies will prolong the fighting but won’t change the outcome. It has also condemned sanctions packages, saying they only affect those imposing them and people in vulnerable countries relying on exports.

The Black Sea grain deal, signed in Istanbul in July 2022 between representatives of Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations, expired on July 17.

While the agreement allowed for the export of both Ukrainian grain and Russian food and fertilisers, Moscow repeatedly insisted the latter part of the deal was not being implemented.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that ‘the blatant sabotage’ of the Istanbul agreements ‘defeats the purpose of continuing the Black Sea Initiative which did not live up to its humanitarian rationale’.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Kiev was determined ‘to continue the work of the Black Sea Grain Initiative or its counterpart in a tripartite format’.

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