A military delegation will travel from Turkey to Russia this week to discuss the feasibility of a “safe sea corridor” being created in the Black Sea that will be allowed to export Ukrainian grain, reported Reuters, citing Turkish presidency sources.
TASS news agency in Russia confirmed that there were plans for the talks, citing Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
The United Nations has appealed to Russia, Ukraine and Turkey to try to find a way to export Ukraine’s large stock of grain, noting that, without it, several parts of the emerging world were under threat of famine.
Turkey has held talks with Russia and the UN on a potential corridor, but has said that any final agreement would require all parties to meet in Istanbul, from where Turkey said the plan’s implementation would be monitored.
According to the Turkish sources a four-way meeting between Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the UN would be held in Istanbul in the coming weeks, possibly with the participation of President Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
The plan as currently envisaged would see the creation of three corridors from Ukraine’s Black Sea port city of Odesa – under supervision from Kyiv – with both Ukrainian and Russian food products being shipped from there. It was estimated that between 30m and 35m tonnes of grain could be shipped from there before the end of 2022. That would compare with a figure of about 46m tonnes for the corresponding period the previous year – pre-invasion.
However, many hurdles remain. One is Russia’s insistence that some western sanctions be lifted to help facilitate its grain and fertilizer exports. Meanwhile Ukraine is seeking Russian security guarantees for its ports.