Russia and Ukraine are all set to sign a deal to reopen the grain exports ports in the Ukrainian Black Sea. This is being done with a hope to ease the food crisis being faced across the world that has been aggravated by the Russian invasion. An announcement to the effect came from Turkey and the United Nations on Friday.
Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s biggest exporters of food.
The Turkish and UN-brokered accord will be signed in Istanbul, with both Ukraine and Russia sending their infrastructure and defence ministers, respectively, to the Turkish city, news agency Reuters reported, citing sources. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to attend the ceremony, where UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will also be present, the report said.
The development comes hours after Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy said he expected the seaports of his his country to be unblocked soon.
Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 this year, the world has been facing high inflation in food and energy prices. While the Western sanctions imposed on Moscow are a reason, the blockade by Russia’s Black Sea fleet has only worsened global supply chain disruptions.
Three Ukrainian ports, including Odesa, the biggest export hub, are likely to be reopened after the deal is signed, Russian state news agency TASS reported, citing a source.
Dozens of ships carying some 20 million tonnes of grain have been stranded at the Odesa port, the Reuters report pointed out.
The meeting in Istanbul Friday would mark “the first step to solve the current food crisis”, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted Thursday.
The United States welcomed the deal, but said it would focus on holding Russia accountable for implementing the accord.