Ukrainian grain: The country is traditionally known as Europe’s bread basket.
Turkey says Ukraine has reached a deal with Russia to allow Ukraine to resume exports of grain through the Black Sea. This deal is to be signed in Istanbul on Friday by Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.
Ukraine is traditionally known as Europe’s bread basket. However, due to Russia’s invasion of the country, there has been a world shortage of Ukrainian grain, leaving millions of people at risk of hunger.
The invasion caused a surge in food prices, making this deal to unblock Ukraine’s ports essential.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry confirmed that an UN-led round of talks to unblock grain exports would take place in Turkey on Friday, and a document “may be signed.” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his late-night address that Kyiv awaited news “regarding the unblocking of our ports.”
However, Odesa MP Oleksiy Honcharenko “We don’t have [an] agreement yet. We don’t trust Russians at all. So, let us wait for a final decision so that there will not be some pushbacks from Russians and last-minute changes.”
“I keep fingers crossed tomorrow we’ll have a deal, and Russia will really respect it.”
The US State Department welcomed the UN-brokered deal; however, they said it focused on holding Russia accountable for its implementation.
The department’s spokesman, Ned Price, said, “We should never have been in this position in the first place. This was a deliberate decision by the Russian Federation to weaponize food.”
Diplomats say the plan for the deal includes: Ukrainian vessels guiding grain ships in and out through mined port waters, Russia agreeing to a truce while shipments move, and Turkey inspecting ships to allay Russian fears of weapons smuggling.
The deal is also meant to facilitate Russian exports of grain and fertilizer through the Black Sea.
The UN and Turkey have been working for two months to broker a grain deal amid global anxiety about the food crisis.
Russia denies blocking Ukraine’s ports and blames Ukraine for laying mines at sea and Western sanctions for slowing Russia’s own exports.
In a piece for African newspapers, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blames Ukraine and the West for “absolutely groundless” allegations that Russia was exporting hunger. While he praised the “balanced position of the Africans regarding what is happening in Ukraine and around it.”
However, Ukraine says the Russian navy prevents it from shipping grain and other exports and accuses Russian forces of stealing grain from Ukrainian farms. If the deal is reached as planned, it will be the first significant deal between Russia and Ukraine since the war began.