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Russia and Ukraine sign deals with Turkey and UN to reopen Black Sea ports to resume export of food grains

The agreement will ensure safe passage of the ships transporting food grains and other related items from Ukraine through Black Sea ports, and allow Russia to export grain and fertiliser despite the sanctions

In a major development will ease the soaring global good prices, Russia and Ukraine today signed deals with Turkey and UN that will allow both countries to export grains through the Black Sea. Both countries signed separate but identical agreements with Turkey and the United Nations in Istanbul.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov signed separate deals with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was present to witness the ceremony in the Turkish capital.

The agreements will allow reopening of Ukrainian ports on the black sea which were closed after Russian invasion of Ukraine started earlier this year. The agreements are results of talks between the two countries mediated by the UN and Turkey. The deals, dubbed as “package” will resume exports of food grains from Ukraine, along with easing exports of Russian grain and fertiliser despite sanctions imposed by western nations.

“Today, there is a beacon on the Black Sea,” said Secretary General Antonio Guterres said hailing the deal. He added, “A beacon of hope, a beacon of possibility, a beacon of relief in a world that needs it more than ever.”

“You have overcome obstacles and put aside differences to pave the way for an initiative that will serve the common interests of all,” Guterres told the representatives of Russian and Ukraine.

Reportedly, the agreements will allow Ukraine to export 22 million tones of grain and other agricultural products that are stuck in the ports of Black Sea due to the war. Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, corn and sunflower oil, and global prices of these items have soared as exports from Ukraine had stopped due to the Russian invasion and the naval blockade of the ports. While some grain is being transported to Europe by railways, roadways and riverways, that is no match for shipments through seaports.

According to Guterres, the agreement known as the “Black Sea Initiative” will open a path for export of significant volume of food grain from Ukraine from its key Black Sea ports, Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny. He said that it would “bring relief for developing countries on the edge of bankruptcy and the most vulnerable people on the edge of famine.”

“It will help stabilize global food prices which were already at record levels even before the war – a true nightmare for developing countries,” the UN Secretary General added.

The agreement will ensure safe passage of the ships transporting food grains and other related items. The operations will be overseen by a control centre to be set-up in Istanbul, which will be operated by UN, Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian officials. The ships will be inspected to ensure that they don’t carry weapons.

Ahead of the signing of the deal, Ukraine’s presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak had said that they will not accept Russian ships escorting the vessels and presence of Russian officials at the ports. He assured immediate military response in case of any provocation by Russia.

He had also made it clear on Twitter that Ukraine is not signing any deal with Russia, and both countries are signing separate mirror deals. Mykhailo Podolyak also added that all inspections of ships will be done in Turkish waters only.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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