Russia and Turkey in talks to transport grain
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Russia and Turkey in talks to transport grain

Russia and Turkey have agreed to further discuss a possible safe corridor in the Black Sea to export grain from Ukraine after talks in Moscow, Russia’s defense ministry and Turkish state broadcaster said.

Ukraine is one of the world’s largest suppliers of wheat, but deliveries have been halted by the invasion of Russia, causing food shortages worldwide.

Russia, Turkey in talks to transport grain | The Canberra Times | Canberra, ACT

The UN has called on both sides and its maritime neighbor Turkey to agree on a corridor.

NATO member Turkey has held direct talks with Russia and the UN on the corridor but said on Wednesday more were needed for a deal.

To reach an agreement on the UN-led plan, Moscow wants some Western sanctions lifted to facilitate grain and fertilizer exports, and Kyiv is seeking security guarantees for its ports.

Ankara, which has good relations with both, has said the requirements are reasonable.

On Tuesday, sources in the Turkish presidency said a meeting between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the UN will be held in Istanbul in the coming weeks.

Turkish broadcaster TRT Haber said Tuesday talks between Turkish and Russian military officials were “positive and constructive”. As a result, it said a Turkish dry cargo ship stuck in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol – under Russian control – left the dock safely.

TRT said that the Azov Concord ship left Mariupol port hours after the meeting ended. Talks were led by generals who were supposed to operate a “hotline” between Ankara, Moscow, and Kyiv to seek a solution to the crisis, it added.

Without citing a source, TRT said, “an agreement has been reached on holding meetings between Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, and the UN to resolve the issue”.

Ankara has said it is ready to take on an “observation mechanism” role that will be formed in Istanbul to monitor the implementation of the marine corridor plan.

Moscow denies responsibility for the food crisis and blames Western sanctions for the shortage.

Russia said the West was spreading lies about the causes of the global food crisis, which Moscow said was fueled by sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

In addition to the death and devastation the Russian invasion has wrought, the war and the West’s attempt to cripple the Russian economy as punishment has soared the price of grain, cooking oil, fertilizer, and energy, hurting global growth.

The US and EU members, which supply arms to Ukraine, have accused Russia of fueling a food crisis by preventing Ukraine’s grain exports – which account for about a tenth of global wheat exports.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned on June 9 that millions of people could starve due to a Russian blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, which he said had left the world “on the brink of a terrible food crisis”.

Russia and Ukraine are two of the major producers of agricultural commodities worldwide. Russia is the world’s largest wheat exporter after the EU, while Ukraine is the world’s largest exporter of sunflower seeds.

Both play a major role in the barley, maize, and rapeseed markets, while Russia is one of the world’s largest fertilizer exporters.