Ukraine, Russia agree to reopen grain ports: Turkey
25 July 2022
Turkey on Thursday claimed that it has got assurances from Russia and Ukraine that the two warring nations would sign a deal to reopen Ukrainian Black Sea ports for grain exports, ending Russia’s blockade of Black Sea ports.
Thursday's announcement by the office of the Turkish presidency comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Iranian capital Tehran where the two leaders were to discuss the easing of Black Sea exports of Ukrainian grain.
Details of the accord were not immediately released. It was due to be signed at 1330 GMT on Friday, Erdogan's office said.
Neither Ukraine nor Russia, both among the world's biggest exporters of food, did not immediately confirm the news.
But in a late-night video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hinted that his country's Black Sea ports could soon be unblocked.
Perhaps, Zelenskiy was banking on Turkey’s assurances and on Ukrainian forces' potential to make gains on the battlefield.
Moscow has blamed the worsening food crisis on Western sanctions that slowed its own food and fertiliser exports and Ukraine for mining the approaches to its Black Sea ports.
The United Nations and Turkey have been working for two months to broker what Guterres called a "package" deal - to restore Ukraine's Black Sea grain exports while facilitating Russian grain and fertiliser shipments.
Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said the European Union had proposed relaxing some earlier sanctions to shore up global food security, and Moscow hoped this would create conditions for unhindered exports of grain and fertilisers
While the news raised hopes that the blockage that is causing food shortages around the world can be eased, Erdogan’s first meeting with Putin since the Russian snub on Turkey’s Syria plans in 2020, did not yield the expected results. Erdogan’s quest for a green light for a new military intervention in Syria remained unanswered.
The Turkish President who went to Tehran with a thick dossier of bilateral problems, however, returned without any concrete results. The strains in Turkey’s ties with Russia and Iran remained unrelieved after talks with his Russian and Iranian counterparts.