Dragons in Kiev, unblocking of wheat on the table and Ukraine in the EU

The Italian premier in Ukraine with Macron and Scholz

(from the correspondent Piero Spinucci) – A demonstration of unity to bring European support to the Ukrainian people and to President Volodymyr Zelensky. Mario Draghi, together with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, arrived in Kiev for a long overdue visit, but not announced by the governments of the three countries for security reasons. The three leaders will carry a unified message in condemning the invasion of Ukraine, in sanctioning Russia and in helping Kiev.

After about 10 hours of travel on a night train from Medyka (Poland), and not as expected from Przemysl due to an electrical problem, for what is undoubtedly the most complex journey of the former ECB number one since at Palazzo Chigi, the three have the opportunity to meet Zelensky face to face, after several telephone conversations in recent months. The leaders during the mission will address the various dimensions of the conflict. From what is learned, we will take stock of the latest developments in the Donbass situation, but also an analysis of the forces in the field and the Ukrainian army in particular.

On the table, two dossiers seem to take precedence over all the others. Starting with the possible future entry of Kiev into the EU, a key on which Zelensky has been beating for some time. He has also repeated this in recent weeks, rejecting the option of the European political community proposed by Macron for countries that are not members of the European Union. The French leader himself on the eve deviated from the ‘orthodox’ line by arguing that “at some point Ukraine will have to negotiate with Russia”.

This is “undoubtedly a decisive moment, not only for Ukraine, but for the whole European Union: a moment in which we decide what will be, and if there will be, the future of a united Europe. Russia wants to split it, weaken it. and we are sure that Ukraine is only the first step of this aggression. For this reason the positive response of the European Union to the Ukrainian request to apply as a member can become an affirmative response to the existence of a future for the community project “, he said. Zelensky said to Ursula Von der Leyen on Saturday on the occasion of the second visit to Kiev by the president of the European Commission since the beginning of the war. “Ukraine deserves to be granted the status of EU candidate country this June on the basis of an individual and merit-based assessment”, echoed the Foreign Minister of Kiev, Dmytro Kuleba, in view of the next Council European of 23-24 June.

In the ‘battle’ to get Ukraine candidate status, Zelensky will have Draghi at his side, who even at the recent EU summit at the end of May did not fail to remember that Italy is the only major European country to openly speaking in favor of Ukraine’s candidacy. For its part, the Ukrainian government expects an acceleration from this visit, and perhaps a clearer stance on the EU candidacy by its European allies, but does not hide some doubts about the approach of some countries, “three” as it has the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration, Olga Stefanishina, specified that they do not want to give the green light to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, according to the ‘Politico’ website, the Commission will give its recommendation to the status of candidate country for Ukraine. But the Commission’s ok, if confirmed, would be only the first step in a long process, at the end of which the favorable opinion of all 27 Member States will be needed. At the end of the diplomatic marathon that awaits Western leaders in the coming weeks, when in addition to the European Council, those on the Balkans, the G7 and NATO are also expected, the picture will certainly be clearer.

But the big Europeans arrive in Kiev to tackle another delicate dossier, namely the blocking of grain exports from Ukraine, considered the ‘granary’ of Europea and in whose silos, according to estimates, 25 million tons are blocked. An issue to which the theme of the food crisis is closely linked, with potentially tragic repercussions for some areas of the planet, in particular North Africa and the Middle East, where in some countries the increase in the price of bread has already been at the basis of strong political fibrillations and in some cases of real riots. This is a dossier that Draghi has also carried out during his mission in Israel.

“We must operate with the utmost urgency the safe corridors for the transport of grain. We have very little time, because in a few weeks the new crop will be ready and it could be impossible to preserve it”, declared the premier after the interview had with the Israeli prime minister. Naftali Bennett. Italy supports an active role of the United Nations and at the moment there are two possible paths on the table. The first step in demining the port waters of the Black Sea, for the safety of which there has long been talk of a possible Italian and French involvement. The second is the land route, on which the US insists.

The German government also seems to be taking decisive action on the question of the threat of the world food crisis. According to the local press, in fact, Berlin is planning an international conference for June 24 at the foreign ministry in Berlin. Germany which, in the meantime, seems to have ended up in the crosshairs of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It did not go unnoticed, on the eve of the arrival of the three European leaders in Kiev, the cut in Russian gas supplies to Germany and in a “limited” form to Italy, a measure decided by Moscow that sounds a lot like a warning.