Russia, Ukraine agree to export deal that moves millions of tons of grain, fertilizer from Black Sea
Russia and Ukraine have agreed to export millions of tons of Ukrainian grain and Russian fertilizer through the Black Sea to help avoid a global food crisis.
Nebraska State Senator Tom Brewer, who is in Ukraine, tells Brownfield reopening grain exports clears the way for significant volumes of food shipments. “The ports are full, the storage facilities at the ports are full and the ships are full. They can’t leave because of the mine fields. They have to cut a swath through the mine fields. They have to get the blessing of the Russians, so they don’t use the navy to sink the ships. Then, they have to bring in these huge container ships to move all of this out.”
UN officials say preliminary shipments could begin as soon as Saturday with exports reaching prewar levels within weeks.
The countries signed separate agreements Friday with Turkey and The United Nations helping broker the deal after months of negotiations. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says the agreement is a beacon of hope.
The agreement includes:
- A coalition of Turkish, Ukrainian and UN staff to monitor the loading of grain on vessels in Ukrainian ports.
- Ukrainian pilot vessels will guide commercial vessels through mined areas around the coastline.
- Vessels crossing Turkey’s straight into the Black Sea will be monitored by a coordination center in Istanbul.
- Ships entering Ukraine will be inspected under the same coalition to ensure they aren’t carrying weapons.
- The Russians and Ukrainians have agreed to withhold attacks on commercial vessels or ports engaged in exporting grain with UN and Turkish monitors present.