EU’s top diplomat optimistic for a Ukrainian grain deal in Turkey this week
European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he is expecting a deal between Ukraine and Russia to unblock the Ukrainian grain exports this week.
“I have a hope that this week it will be possible to reach an agreement,” Borrell said on Monday, the Financial Times reported.
“The life of tens of thousands of people depends on this agreement. It is not a diplomatic game. It is an issue of life or death for many,” Borrell said.
Last week, Ukraine and Russia agreed to establish a coordination center in Istanbul, in a four-party meeting alongside Turkish and UN officials, aimed at reaching a grain deal. Some 20 million tons of grain have stuck at the war-torn country, threatening a global food crisis, as Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest grain exporters.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, who hosted the Istanbul talks on Wednesday, said Russian and Ukrainian delegations would meet again in Turkey this week for reviewing details, signing relevant documents and making the agreement official.
United Nations introduced a plan to set up a food corridor along the Black Sea for the resumption of Ukraine’s grain exports, that have stalled after Russian invasion at the end of February.
Following the four-way meeting, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he is grateful to the United Nations and Turkey for their respective efforts.