Ukraine and Russia have signed an UN-backed deal to allow the export of millions of tonnes of grain from blockaded Black Sea ports. A signing ceremony at Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul was attended by UN secretary general António Guterres, who had played a key role during months of tense negotiations.
What is the grain export deal?
- The deal makes provisions for the safe passage of ships.
- It foresees the establishment of a control center in Istanbul, to be staffed by U.N., Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian officials, to run and coordinate the process.
- Ships would undergo inspections to ensure they are not carrying weapons.
- No Russian ship would escort vessels and that there would be no Russian representative present at Ukrainian ports.
Why was the grain export deal signed?
- The agreement potentially averted the threat of a catastrophic global food crisis.
- Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of wheat, corn and sunflower oil, but Russia’s invasion of the country and naval blockade of its ports have halted shipments.
- Some grain is being transported through Europe by rail, road and river, but the prices of vital commodities like wheat and barley have soared during the nearly five-month war.