The office of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey will gather today to sign a grain export deal proposed by the United Nations to ease the global food crisis caused by besieged Black Sea ports. This would be the first major agreement between Kyiv and Moscow since Russia’s invasion.
The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, was due to arrive in Turkey on July 21st, Thursday, and will attend the event along with Erdogan at Istanbul’s lavish Dolmabahce Palace.
“The grain export agreement, critically important for global food security, will be signed in Istanbul tomorrow under the auspices of President Erdogan and the UN secretary-general, Mr. Guterres, together with Ukrainian and Russian delegations,” President’s spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said in a tweet.
A week ago, the warring sides, along with Turkish and UN officials, met in Istanbul, reaching a tentative agreement to resolve the impasse.
A coordination centre would be set up in Istanbul, which would include UN, Turkish, Russian, and Ukrainian officials, for the shipping of exports.
Furthermore, as a precondition, Russia has set up inspections that aim to prevent any military equipment from reaching Ukraine. Ukraine, on the other hand, has raised concerns about the safety of its ships, since exports would take place through three ports, one of which is heavily mined, Odessa.
In addition, Ukrainian lawmaker Rustem Umerov told reporters that an Istanbul-based UN monitoring group would keep an eye on the safety of the shipments.
Regarding the Istanbul agreement "on the export of 🇺🇦 grain". Previously.
1. Ukraine does not sign any documents with Russia. We sign an agreement with Turkey and the UN and undertake obligations to them. Russia signs a mirror agreement with Turkey and the UN. 1/2
— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) July 22, 2022
The United States embraced the deal. US Department of State spokesperson, Ned Price, said, “We should never have been in this position in the first place. This was a deliberate decision on the part of the Russian Federation to weaponize food. “