Ukrainian leaders hope to resume exports, in a few days, of millions of tons of grain blocked in the port by the Russian invasion. A joint coordination center will open in Istanbul on Wednesday to monitor shipments.
Ukrainian and Russian negotiators reached an agreement on Friday brokered by diplomats from the United Nations and Turkey. The hope is that the shipments will be able to reach world markets, ward off famine and stabilize food prices.
Ukrainian officials will send a government ship to direct a cargo ship around the Black Sea mines. “What we’re trying to do is just make sure there’s enough security, both with these ships to travel and to encourage other ships,” said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman. of the Secretary General of the United Nations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he expects the Russians and Ukrainians to stick to their parts of the deal. He will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin next week.
But Russian forces have already cast doubt on the deal. They had already touched the port of Odessa on Saturday during a missile strike. On Tuesday, they hit more targets in the Odessa region and in the Mykolaiv region.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian forces must be held to account.