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Ukraine and Russia create maritime corridor for grain exports

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O secretário-geral da ONU, António Guterres, e o presidente turco, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (sentados), e ministros da Turquia e da Ucrânia na assinatura do acordo, em Istambul

UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (seated), and ministers from Turkey and Ukraine at the signing of the agreement in Istanbul| Photo: EFE/EPA/SEDAT SUNA

Ukraine and Russia signed this Friday (18) an agreement in Istanbul – overseen by Turkey and the United Nations – for the export of Ukrainian grain via a maritime corridor, which should alleviate the food crisis caused by the Russian naval blockade of the neighboring country’s ports on the Black Sea.

The agreement will allow cargo ships to export from three Ukrainian ports – Odesa, Pivdennyi and Chornomorsk – around 18 million tons of wheat, corn and other grains stored in silos.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Ukraine Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov signed the agreement from Istanbul, although they have never sat at the same table at the same time. The pact was brokered by UN Secretary General António Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The agreement created a Joint Coordination Center to verify the implementation of the agreement, which provides for UN and Turkish inspections of ships entering and leave the Black Sea, in response to Russian fears that the ships may be carrying weapons to Ukraine.

It will still take “a few weeks” to implement the agreement, a senior UN source said on the content.

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