Grain deal by Russia and Ukraine ease tensions over global food shortages
A crucial deal between Russia and Ukraine was signed on Friday to reopen Ukrainian Black Sea ports for grain exports, easing tensions over a possible food crisis and causing food prices to fall on the commodity markets.
After two months of talks meditated by the United Nations and Turkey, the deal will open the way to significant volumes of commercial food exports from Ukrainian ports Odesa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny, the U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, during the signing of the ceremony.
"Today, there is a beacon on the Black Sea. A beacon of hope..., possibility...and relief in a world that needs it more than ever," Guterres said.
The agreement signed today by Ukraine, the Russian Federation & Türkiye under UN auspices opens a path for commercial food exports from Ukraine in the Black Sea.— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) July 22, 2022
It will help avoid a food shortage catastrophe for millions worldwide.
It is a beacon of hope, possibility & relief.
Though Ukraine has mined its territorial waters against Russia's invasion, Ukrainian pilots would guide ships along safe channels, U.N. officials said.
Monitored by a Joint Coordination Center based in Istanbul, the ships would then transit the Black Sea to Turkey's Bosphorus strait and proceed to world markets.
Senior U.N. officials said the deal was expected to be fully operational in a few weeks.
The EU has welcomed the deal, as the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tweeted:
"Today's Istanbul agreement is a step in the right direction. We call for its swift implementation."
The US State Department also welcomed the deal but said it was holding Russia accountable for implementing it.