Russia and Ukraine signed a historic deal that allows grain exports from Black Sea ports to resume after they were blocked by Vladimir Putin’s forces.
Russian and Ukrainian representatives refused to share a table at the ceremony. The display of flags from the two countries was modified so they weren’t next to each other.
At the ceremony in Istanbul, the UN and Turkey also signed the deal. This raises hope that the Russian invasion will not exacerbate the international food crisis.
Since Russia invaded its neighbor, the Black Sea Fleet has blocked supplies to all markets and caused grain prices to soar.
Many of the poorest people around the world rely on food shipments from the Black Sea, and it is feared that the rising cost is fuelling a crisis of hunger.
Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General, called on Russia to implement the agreement which allows for “significant quantities of commercial food exports” out of three key Ukrainian ports: Odesa and Chornomorsk.
Guterres stated that the deal would benefit countries on the “edge of bankruptcy” and those most at risk of starvation.
Recep Tayyip Erdan, Turkey’s President, says that the agreement will reduce global food inflation as war has impacted “the whole humanity”.
He said that the implementation of the agreement will be managed by an Istanbul-based joint coordination centre.
Continue reading: Russia’s great grain plunder
Trust is a key ingredient in ceasefires, and it’s not easy to find.
This agreement, if you are optimistic, is a remarkable piece of diplomacy that should ease hunger in some the most impoverished parts of the world.
However, if you’re a pessimist the ink on this document may not prove to be much of a value in practice. Russia and Ukraine are still involved in a ugly fratricidal conflict where suspicion and enmity know no boundaries.
The glass is half-full brigade has it for the moment.
Here’s a breakdown of this landmark deal:
* Objective The deal is designed to prevent famine by injecting more sunflower oil, wheat and fertilizer into the world’s markets.
* Time frame The deal is valid for 120-days and the United Nations expects that it will be renewed, unless the war has been ended by then.
* Safe passage The deal guarantees safe passage into and out of Odesa, and two other Ukrainian ports, in what an official called a “defacto ceasefire” for all the vessels and facilities covered.
* The JCC (JCC) will oversee all ship movements and inspections and determine if a vessel is in conflict with the agreed channels in Istanbul.
* Inspections– To address Russian concerns about Ukrainian ships delivering arms to Ukraine, all returned ships will be inspected in a Turkish port
* Insurance The United Nations spent over two months negotiating with ship insurers to assure that the plan was commercially viable.
Liz Truss, UK Foreign Secretary, stated: “It’s vital that Ukrainian grain reaches international markets. We applaud Turkey for their efforts to broker such an agreement.
“The UK and allies have worked hard to get here. This agreement must now be implemented. We will be closely watching for Russia’s actions to match its words.
Robert Mardini is the director general of the International Committee of the Red Cross. He said that the deal was “lifesaving” for families who are struggling to feed their families.
Mardini said, “Nowhere is the impact more severe than in communities already affected by armed conflict or climate shocks.”
Moscow denies responsibility for the global food crisis. Instead, it blames Western sanctions for slowing down its food and fertiliser exports as well as Ukraine for mining its Black Sea ports.
Ned Price, spokesperson for the US State Department, stated that Washington DC will focus on holding Moscow responsible for fulfilling the agreement.