The governments of Russia and Ukraine have reached an agreement in principle, with the mediation of Turkey, to allow the departure of ships loaded with grain and wheat from Odessa, according to the newspaper ‘Izvestia’, citing Kremlin sources.
According to this information, in Ukrainian waters the Turkish Army will be in charge of removing mines and any other explosive device, as well as escorting ships to neutral territory. At the moment, the plan only applies to Odessa.
“The Turkish Army will be engaged in demining the coastal area in the Odessa region. The ships leave the port escorted by Turkish ships towards neutral waters of the Black Sea. Beyond the Bosphorus, they will be escorted by Russian warships to ensure their safe passage and avoid provocations,” said this source.
The principle of agreement, in whose talks representatives of the United Nations have also participated, is expected to be ratified in the middle of this week when the Russian Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense, Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Shoigu, respectively, meet with their counterparts in the Turkish capital on June 8 and 9.
The source cited by ‘Izvestia’ points out that all Ukrainian grain is now delivered to the European Union by rail and other land means, which has meant that it has not yet reached its final consumers. For its part, the Russian newspaper adds the confirmation of the Turkish Parliament of Ankara’s presence in this agreement due to its interest in resolving the food crisis.
The agreement comes at a time when the price of cereals has skyrocketed due to the blockade to which one of the main grain exporters in the world has been subjected: Ukraine, fifth in the world, with 9 percent of the shipments. Since the start of the war on February 24, about 22.5 million tons of grain have been blocked in Ukrainian ports.
However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied that the war in Ukraine is responsible for the increase in grain prices, but that it is a long-standing problem, which even began before the pandemic. He thus pointed out that Russia does not interfere in these exports and that Ukraine can use other routes such as the port of Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov or through different countries, including Belarus.