Russia agrees to rejoin Ukraine grain export deal

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Russia’s defence ministry says it received ‘sufficient’ guarantees from Kyiv on demilitarising the Black Sea corridor.

Russia agrees to rejoin Ukraine grain export deal

Russia’s defence ministry says it received ‘sufficient’ guarantees from Kyiv on demilitarising the Black Sea corridor.

ships wait to pass Bosphorus strait
Commercial vessels including vessels which are part of Black Sea grain deal wait to pass the Bosphorus strait off the shores of Yenikapi during a misty morning in Istanbul, Turkey, October 31 [Umit Bektas/Reuters]

Published On 2 Nov 20222 Nov 2022

Russia has said it will rejoin a UN-backed agreement to allow the export of grain from Ukraine via a safe Black Sea corridor, with shipments expected to resume on Wednesday.

Russia’s defence ministry confirmed that Moscow would again participate, saying it had received “sufficient” guarantees from Kyiv that it would not use the maritime corridor for military operations against Russia.

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“Russia considers that the received guarantees are at the moment sufficient and is resuming the implementation of the agreement,” the ministry said.

Turkish President Reception Tayyip Erdogan said earlier that Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had told his Turkish counterpart that the grain deal, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations, would continue to operate as of midday on Wednesday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told parliament that “shipments will continue from 12pm today (09:00 GMT) as planned”.

Al Jazeera’s Resul Serdar, reporting from Istanbul, says Turkey’s role in bringing Russia back to the initiative highlights that Ankara is now the “de facto mediator” between Moscow and Kyiv.

“We know that Russia over the weekend had withdrawn from the agreement … but after intensive talks between Ankara, Moscow, Kyiv and of course, the involvement of the United Nations as well, it seems that the deal is once again alive and working,” Serdar said.

The deal, overseen by the Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul, has allowed more than 9.7 million metric tonnes of grain and other foodstuffs to leave Ukrainian ports.

This has brought much-needed relief to a global food crisis triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a key grain exporter.

Under the terms of the deal, which was agreed on in July, ships moving to and from Ukraine are inspected by a joint team of Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian and UN officials.

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