June 23, 2022
Russia and Turkey to discuss safe sea corridor to export Ukrainian grain
The Russian and Turkish defence ministries said both countries have agreed to begin discussions on the establishment of a safe sea corridor in the Black Sea, to allow for exports of Ukrainian grain, Reuters reported.
The Azov Concord, a Turkish dry cargo ship, was the first foreign ship to leave Mariupol city, Ukraine since the Russia invasion on February 24. According to a statement from Turkey's defence ministry, the talks also resulted in the Azov Concord safely leaving Mariupol.
There are food shortages worldwide as a result of Russia's invasion into Ukraine, one of the world's top suppliers of wheat. Both parties and Turkey, a maritime neighbour, have been urged by the UN to accept a safe sea corridor.
After a lengthy siege, Russian and separatist forces finally took over Mariupol on the southern coast of Ukraine in May.
While Kiev wants security guarantees for its ports to agree to the UN-led plan, Moscow wants certain Western sanctions lifted to help facilitate grain and fertiliser exports. Additionally, Ukraine has stated that without its consent, no agreement can be reached.
Turkey, a member of NATO, has had direct discussions about the plan with Moscow and the U.N., but she emphasised that more are required for a deal. It claimed that the demands made by Russia and Ukraine were fair.
The Turkish defence ministry reported that they had lengthy, "constructive," and "positive" talks between the Turkish and Russian military delegations on Tuesday to discuss the corridor, the safe departure of ships from Ukrainian ports, and the arrival of Turkish planes at Ukraine's Borispol airport.
After the meeting, the Azov Concord ship departed Mariupol port. Generals tasked with running a "hotline" between Ankara, Moscow, and Kyiv to find a resolution to the crisis presided over talks, it was added. View More
A meeting between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the UN will take place in Istanbul in the coming weeks, according to sources in the Turkish presidency.
Turkey has offered to serve as the host country for a "observation mechanism" that will be established in Istanbul to track the progress of the sea corridor plan.