Russian and Ukrainian officials met last week in the United Arab Emirates to discuss the possibility of a prisoner-of-war exchange that could be linked to the resumption of Russian ammonia exports via a pipeline through Ukraine. As reported by Reuters on Thursday based on three sources.
According to the news agency, which could not confirm the progress of the talks, representatives of Russia and Ukraine traveled to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the Gulf states, on November 17, where they discussed the possibility of resuming Moscow’s exports. Ammonia in exchange for a prisoner exchange that would release a large number of Ukrainian and Russian prisoners.
Ammonia is the main raw material for the production of fertilizers. The talks are aimed at removing remaining obstacles in a deal to unblock grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, which was extended last week, according to sources familiar with the meeting, who asked not to be identified. However, Russian ammonia exports through the Black Sea pipeline have not yet been agreed, Reuters reported.
The talks were brokered by the United Arab Emirates but did not include the United Nations, despite its central role in the agreement on agricultural products, the sources said.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky He said it before What makes the idea of opening the export of ammonia through the territory of Ukraine depends on the return of the prisoners of war from Moscow. “On the export of ammonia. We can only reach an agreement if an “all for all” exchange is used. We do not want to trade with Russia or help them: they are our enemy. I said that we will reach an agreement only if they exchange all our prisoners for their prisoners. According to “Interfax” agency, Zelensky said last week.
“The release of our prisoners of war is part of the negotiations on the opening of Russian ammonia exports. Of course, we are looking for a way to do it at any time,” Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey, Vasyl Bodnar, told Reuters, adding that he did not know if the meeting had taken place in the Gulf countries.
From Russia to the Black Sea
Russian ammonia exports will be realized by upgrading an existing gas pipeline from Russia to the Black Sea port near Odesa for onward shipment to international buyers. The infrastructure built during the Soviet era is 2,417 kilometers long and can transport up to 2.5 million tons of liquid ammonia. Transit of Russian ammonia through the pipeline was stopped on February 24, the day the Russian invasion began.
Last week, when asked about the opening of an ammonia pipeline from Russia to the Black Sea, Rebecca Greenspan, UN Secretary General UNCTAD, was “optimistic that it can happen”, with an agreement between the Ukrainians and the Russians.
Ukraine is a major producer of grain and oilseeds. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of wheat and one of the main suppliers of fertilizer to world markets.
Neither Moscow nor Kiev have released official figures on the number of prisoners of war since Russia invaded the country in February, but they have held various exchanges over the course of the conflict. Last, this Wednesday, when 35 Russian prisoners were exchanged for 36 Ukrainians.
Source: El Diario