Russia-Ukraine grain talks outcome revealed
Russia and Ukraine have agreed to establish a joint coordination center on grain exports in Istanbul that will include representatives from all parties, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told local media following the four-way talks that also involved Turkey and the UN.
On Wednesday, negotiators from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN met in the Turkish city to discuss the situation regarding the held-up Ukrainian exports.
Ahead of the meeting, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said that Kiev and Moscow had been close to breaking the impasse on the issue.
“An agreement has been reached on technical issues such as joint controls at the destination points and … the safety of navigation on the transfer routes,” Akar told journalists. Russian and Ukrainian delegations “should meet again in Turkey next week,” he said, adding that the parties would “review all the details once again” during that meeting.
Ukraine is one of the world’s leading grain exporters. Yet, it has been unable to export its grain by sea due to the ongoing conflict with Russia. Kiev and Western nations have accused Moscow of preventing Ukrainian grain shipments from leaving the nation’s Black Sea ports. Russia has denied such accusations and, in turn, blamed Kiev for the crisis, arguing that its forces mined the Black Sea waters, thus creating a threat to cargo ships.
The West has also accused Moscow of attempting to cause a global food crisis by supposedly blocking shipments of Ukrainian grain and “using hunger as a weapon.” Last month, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia was not impeding exports and criticized the West for its “cynical attitude” towards the food supply of developing nations, which have been the most affected by the soaring prices. Moscow is ready to provide free passage to international waters for ships carrying grain, he added.