A deal has been reached between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN which aims to resume Ukrainian grain exports to the rest of the world.
Turkey has been hosting talks between representatives from the warring countries for several weeks, in a bid to end the blockade of grain exports which has already put millions of people at risk of starvation.
News of a deal having been struck for grain has been welcomed, not least because of the increasingly severe food and cost-of-living crises happening concurrently around the world. The UN has hailed the agreement as a “critical step forward”.
Turkey’s Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, said the deal will be signed when parties meet again next week.
Akar added that included in the deal would be joint controls for checking grains in ports and Turkey ensuring the safety of export routes for Ukrainian grain in the Black Sea.
Turkey will also set up a coordination centre with Ukraine, Russia and the UN for grain exports, the Defence Minister said.
More than 20 million tonnes of grain is stuck in silos at the Black Sea port of Odesa.
As a top producer and exporter of grain and several other critical crops – like sunflower oil and other cereals – Russia’s stranglehold on Ukraine’s ports has caused huge concern for governments around the world.
At the G7 Summit earlier this month, several countries pledged billions of dollars’ worth of support to unblock the Ukrainian supply chain.
Additionally, as a top producer and exporter of fuels, fertiliser ingredients and several agricultural products, political and agricultural turbulence within Russia itself has destabilised several global systems too.
In his daily address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said: “We are indeed making significant efforts to restore the supply of food to the world market. And I am grateful to the United Nations and Turkey for their respective efforts.”
Following the news of the deal, UN Secretary General, António Guterres, said “more technical work will now be needed to materialise today’s progress”.
“Today is an important and substantive step, a step on the way to a comprehensive agreement,” he added. It is hoped that having struck a deal to unblock grain exports, the two countries could keep conversations going and ultimately put an end to the war.
However Guterres said: “For peace we still have a long way to go.”
Understand why the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war are so far reaching in this Food Matters Live podcast: