‘No place for Russia in International Maritime Organisation’: Zelenskyy to IMO Assembly

Russia must not be a member of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), since it has done more damage to free navigation in the recent decades than any other country.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine, in an address to the participants of the 33rd Assembly of the International Maritime Organisation yesterday in a video link, noted that since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine, the freedom of navigation in the Black Sea waters has suffered the greatest blow since the Second World War.

“Russia has no place in the International Maritime Organisation, nor in its governing bodies, because no one in recent decades has caused greater harm to free navigation than Russia. It must be held accountable for this, and such accountability of the aggressor will guarantee the preservation of global trust in our Organisation.”

Almost 6 million tons of cargo have already been transported to countries on three continents via the alternative export routes, according to Zelenskyy, who emphasized the fact that Ukraine has demonstrated not only that it will continue to contribute to global security, particularly food security, but also that it is capable of protecting security.

“On the very first day of the full-scale war, Russia blocked our ports [in] the Black Sea, disrupting our maritime trade routes. This led to enormous negative consequences – first of all, in terms of food security in the world. The food export from Ukraine affects the lives of about four hundred million people in different parts of the world,” Zelenskyy said in the video, adding that “Ukraine has overcome this threat”.

He also invited the representative of the organisation to visit the city of Odesa and other port cities of Ukraine “so that you can see with your own eyes what difficulties our people have overcome”.

The president stated that “anyone who tries to destroy the fundamental principles of navigation must be held accountable. The freedom of the seas is one of the key freedoms that allowed humanity to advance. We must defend it together,” he stated.

In connection with this, Zelenskyy urged the IMO to “prove at the level of this Organisation that no destroyer of freedom of navigation will go unpunished”.