Ukraine finalizes preparations to resume wheat exports interrupted by war

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  • Istanbul hosts the Joint Coordination Center, with participation from kyiv and Moscow, Turkey and the UN

Ukraine finalizes preparations to resume wheat exports interrupted by the war

< p>Ukraine has begun its preparations to start, in the coming days, with exports of wheat, blocked since the start of the campaign. the Russian invasion in February of this year. 

Russia established a sea blockadeagainst Ukraine, which it saw as part of its wheat and grain reserves – those that are in the areas occupied by the Russian Army – were stolen and sold by Moscow. In the areas controlled by kyiv, there are currently 22 million tons waiting to be marketed.

Last week, Ukraine and Russia reached an agreement to resume these exports through the Black Sea first and the Bosphorus Strait later. It is precisely in the city of this strait, in Istanbul, where the agreement provides for the establishment of a Joint Coordination Center, with representatives from Turkey, the UN, Russia and Ukraine.

Inspections in the hands of Turkey

“This center will ensure that Ukraine can export food through the three ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk andYuzhny. We believe that the achievement of this center will help. help prevent a global food crisis, and it will serve to Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said this Wednesday at the opening of the center.

Under the pact, Turkey will have a fundamental role in Ukrainian exports being able to continue their course. In Turkish ports, according to Akar, freighters leaving or going to Ukrainian ports will be investigated to prevent them from being imported weapons and ammunition

The first ship with Ukrainian wheat is expected to leave between this Wednesday and this Thursday. After a two-day voyage, the ship will arrive to Turkey, from where, after being inspected, it will continue to her route to world wheat markets. 

“The primary condition that we must consider is the safety of the navigation of the ships. This is one of the considerations that we are taking into account”, said Fred Kenney, director of the International Maritime Organization and member of the United Nations delegation in the coordination center ;n of Istanbul.

A fragile agreement

One of the great doubts that exist with this agreement, which will continue to be What is in effect for the next 120 days is whether it will be sustainable over time and if Russia, which has military superiority in the Black Sea, will not break it. early.

The doubt is reasonable: the pact was signed on Friday of last week in Istanbul. On Saturday morning, Russia bombed the the port of Odessa, with the aim of destroying Ukrainian military positions and wheat silos. The silos were unharmed, but the messageof Moscow It was mandated: this fragile agreement can be broken when Russia sees fit.

Turkey, however, tries to be more optimistic. “The establishment of this center shows that any crisis can be solved if there is dialogue and working together. The delegations that work here know that the eyes of the whole worldthey are looking at you. It is our hope that this place will make the greatest possible contribution to the humanitarian and peace needs in the world”, said the Turkish Defense Minister at the presentation of the Joint Coordination Center.

< p>This agreement, according to the UN, could “save the lives of hundreds of thousands and even millions of people” around the world in the face of a food crisis that was looming throughout the world. the planet due to high food prices, added, in addition, to the energy crisis that is expected for winter in Europe.

“Work has already begun in the ports” The Ukrainian Navy said this Wednesday in a statement, which continued: “The entry and exit of freighters to the ports will be carried out by forming a convoy that accompanies each ship leading the group”. The route followed by each ship will be marked from the center of Istanbul, in coordination between Turkey , Russia, the UN and Ukraine.

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