Russia and Ukraine agree to unblock grain exports

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Russia and Ukraine agree to unblock grain-exports

Separated, first the Russians and then the Ukrainians, without wanting to see each other, Russia and Ukraine have signed their agreement this Friday to allow exports Ukrainian grain and wheat can leave the ports of the Slavic country, which has been suffering from a naval blockade since the Kremlin started blockading it. their invasion in February of this year. 

In Ukraine, there are currently 22 million tons of wheat waiting to be exported. “What we have achieved today is a beacon of light, of relief. To the representatives here present from Russia and Ukraine: I want to tell you that you have managed to overcome all obstacles to achieve an agreement that benefits everyone. The focus has not been on making the pact benefit one or the other. This agreement benefits the whole world & rdquor ;, said the secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres, who has traveled from New York to Istanbul, where the agreement was signed.

According to the text, the pact will be valid for the next 120 days, after which it will be valid. automatically renewed provided all signatories agree. If one is not, these humanitarian corridors of wheat will be over.

Together with the UN, the other mediator between kyiv and Moscow for this agreement has been the Turkey of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “I want to thank my counterparts Vladimir Putin and Volodimir Zelensky—the presidents of Russia and Ukraine— for his leadership. In the next few days it will start. the transit of exports through the Black Sea. This will be a breath of fresh air for many countries in the world. In addition, we will establish a coordination center in Istanbul to control the implementation of this agreement,” Erdogan said.

However, some questions remain: the demining of Ukrainian ports, according to In the text, he is left in suspense and will have to be negotiated and discussed in the future.

Global food crisis

Along with the energy crisis looming this winter, the world – especially Africa and the Middle East— rushed into a humanitarian food crisis. Russia and Ukraine are two of the largest exporters of wheat in the world, which has caused the prices of this food to skyrocket in recent months. 

“The start of exports will reduce the pressure and the high prices. This agreement has not been easy. We have always said that there was no solution to the looming global food crisis without full and complete access to Ukrainian crops and Russian crops and fertilizers”, Guterres said at the ceremony .

With this, as its secretary general has implied, the UN hopes that the United Statesand the countries of the European Union (EU) lift their sanctions against exports of Russian agricultural products. “Reaching this agreement has not been easy. The agreement has been possible only after very long negotiations & rdquor ;, Erdogan has said.

The reasons, apart from mistrust between kyiv and Moscow, have been various. Ukraine wanted to make sure that Russia would not use the reopening of Ukrainian ports to attempt a naval offensive and invasion on the coast of the invaded country. Moscow you already tried it —and failed— in February, at the beginning of the war

For its part, Russia wanted to ensure that cargo ships leaving Ukrainian ports with wheat did not return to Ukraine with weapons and ammunition sent by the West. After months of negotiations, an agreement was reached in Istanbul this Friday.

A pact that, however, is two. “Ukraine does not sign any documents with Russia. We signed an agreement with Turkey and the UN and we are committed to them. Russia signs a parallel agreement with Turkey and the UN”, said Mijailo Podolyak, the main adviser to the Ukrainian president, shortly before the signing. 

“There will be no Neither a Russian navy escort of our freighters nor their representatives will be in our ports. In case of provocations, we will give an immediate military response. All inspections of freighters will be carried out by joint groups in Turkish waters, whenever necessary”, Podolyak continued.

Mistrust

“We have all made an effort to bring this agreement to fruition today, and we hope that this pact in the Black Sea will be a pact that will lead a beacon of light towards peace [between Ukraine and Russia] ”, Guterres said in the presentation of the text.

However, and kyiv are further apart than ever. With the Ukrainian delegation out of the room, the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, has signed the agreement together with Guterres and the Turkish Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar strong>. Only when Shoigu has left the room have the Ukrainians entered. They haven't even crossed paths.

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