July 14, 2022


Ukraine grain exports deal to be signed by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN


Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations (UN) will sign an agreement that aims to resume shipments of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, but Antonio Guterres, UN chief, said there was still a long way to go before peace talks to end the war, Reuters reported.


Hulusi Akar, the Turkish Defense Minister, said the agreement, which is set to be signed next week, will reportedly include joint controls for inspecting shipments in ports and Turkey ensuring the security of Black Sea export routes. Along with Ukraine, Russia, and the UN, Turkey would establish a coordination centre for grain exports.


Prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel, and fertiliser have skyrocketed as a result of the conflict in Ukraine. 20 million tonnes of grain are stuck in silos at Odesa as a result of Russia's invasion and sea blockade, which has halted exports and left dozens of ships stranded.


Russia and Ukraine both contribute significantly to the world's supply of wheat, and Russia also exports a lot of fertiliser, while Ukraine also produces a lot of corn and sunflower oil.


A senior UN official described the talks in Istanbul as a "breakthrough," saying that most of the obstacles had been removed in the negotiations to resume Ukraine's Black Sea exports.


Before the talks on Wednesday, diplomats said specifics of the plan included Ukrainian ships directing grain ships into and out of mined port waters; Russia agreeing to a ceasefire while shipments move; and Turkey – supported by the UN – inspecting ships to alleviate Russian fears of weapons smuggling.


Ukraine raised hopes for an increase in grain exports despite Russia's closure of Black Sea ports by noting that ships had begun to pass through a crucial Danube river mouth.


The UN is also trying to make it easier for Russia to export grain and fertiliser.


Since the start of the war, Russia has kept up its grain exports, but there aren't many big ships because their owners are reluctant to send them there. The cost of insurance and freight has also significantly increased.


The US has offered to provide shipping companies and importing nations with written assurances that Russian grain and fertiliser are not subject to sanctions.


The wheat crop for 2022 is currently being harvested by farmers in both nations. The busiest months for traders to ship the new crop are typically July to November.


The upcoming harvest is also in danger because Ukraine is running out of storage space as a result of the suspension of exports.


-      Reuters

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