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Wheat spikelet are seen in the field against the blue sky during the grain harvesting
It's harvesting season in Ukraine, but much of the grain will be stored in warehouses as exporting is difficult due to the warImage: Dmytro Smoliyenko/Avalon/Photoshot/picture alliance

Turkey to host Russia-Ukraine-UN grain talks

July 12, 2022

A potential Black Sea corridor to export grain from Ukraine tops the meeting agenda in Istanbul. However, the UN chief says there is "still a way to go" to clinch a deal.


Turkey will host Russian and Ukrainian delegations with UN diplomats on Wednesday to try and free up grain exports through the Black Sea.

"Military delegations from Turkey, Russia and Ukraine and a United Nations delegation will be conducting talks in Istanbul tomorrow regarding safe transfer of grain waiting in Ukrainian ports to international markets via sea route," Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Tuesday.

The plans set to be discussed include having Ukrainian vessels guide grain ships around sea mines, Russia agreeing to a truce while shipments move, and Turkey inspecting ships with UN support in order to ally Russian fears of potential weapons smuggling.

Ukraine, one of the world's largest grain suppliers, has struggled to ship grain because of Russia's invasion. Kyiv also accuses Moscow of blocking, and sometimes stealing, its grain.

It usually exports 6 million to 7 million tons of grain per month. Last month, however, the "breadbasket of the world," as Ukraine is frequently referred to, shipped out only 2.2 million tons, according to the Ukrainian Grain Association.

It has contributed to soaring food prices worldwide and food shortages in large parts of the developing world.

War in Ukraine sparks food crisis

Negotiators to discuss Black Sea grain corridor

Turkey has played a key role in talks between Russia and Ukraine on a potential Black Sea corridor to export grain from Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials say about 23 million tons of grain are trapped, with Russia blockading Ukraine's Black Sea ports. Moscow, however, denied this and said Kyiv is free to ship grain from its ports.

Hundreds of mines were dropped in the Black Sea by both sides.

Ukraine has refused to demine the area out of fear that Russia might then stage an amphibious assault on cities

A plan proposed by the UN would see the shipments start along specific corridors, avoiding known locations of mines.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Pyotr Ilyichev told the Interfax news agency that Moscow had a list of demands.

"Our understandable conditions include the possibility to control and search the ship to avoid the contraband of weapons and Kyiv's commitment not to stage provocations," Ilyichev said.

Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said the issue must be, "resolved under the auspices of the UN."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said "there is still a way to go" in talks to try and resume the exports.

Romania helps Ukraine ship grain

lo/fb (AFP, dpa, Reuters)