Ukraine: the agreement with Russia on wheat is in the final phase. Moscow: “Confident”
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Ukraine: the agreement with Russia on wheat is in the final phase. Moscow: “Confident”

The meeting in Turkey between the delegations of the two countries in the presence of UN observers to discuss the grain blocked in the ports

AP | Bombs near a wheat field, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine

Russia and Ukraine are close to reaching an agreement on the export of grain from Ukrainian territory. This was stated by the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, in an interview with El Paìs published on the day when a meeting between Russia, Turkey, representatives of Ukraine and UN observers is scheduled in Istanbul to discuss precisely the export of Ukrainian grain from ports.

“Ukraine is ready to export its cereals on the international market”, Kuleba underlined, adding: “We are two steps away from reaching an agreement with Russia” on wheat, “we are in the final phase and now everything depends on Moscow. “,” if they really want to, grain exports will start soon. “

Pyotr Ilyichev, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Relations with International Organizations, said the Russian military has reiterated its readiness to allow safe shipping corridors in the Black Sea. Seventy ships from 16 countries were stranded. in Ukrainian ports, Ilyichev said, arguing that Ukrainian authorities had prevented them from leaving. “Our conditions are clear: we must have the ability to control ships to prevent any attempt at arms smuggling, and Kiev must refrain from any provocation,” said Ilyichev, as reported by Interfax.

Negotiations in Istanbul

Negotiations between Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and the UN are scheduled for today in Istanbul.

According to Turkish media, a military delegation from Russia arrived in Istanbul around 11 am while the place where the negotiations will take place has not been revealed and the meeting will be closed to the press. At the end of the meeting, the Ankara Ministry of Defense announced that it will issue a statement.

“The meetings with the delegations first took place separately, both with the Russian and Ukrainian sides, in a constructive way. The hopes that some consensus will be reached on this issue today are very high,” said a source, adding that the UN plan is “realistic enough”.

Russia’s concerns about the corridor for Ukrainian grain exports across the Black Sea must be taken into account, the source said, adding that the deal should benefit all parties.

“There are demands from the Russian side to remove obstacles to the export of goods from Russia. This problem cannot be ignored. There are obstacles for the Russian side in the field of ship insurance, logistics, transport services and operations. banking in relation to the sanctions imposed. These points are taken into account, it is important to reach an agreement that guarantees the interests of all parties “, added the source.

Russia had emphasized that it wanted in particular to maintain “the possibility of controlling and searching ships to avoid arms smuggling”.

However, the negotiations are complicated by growing suspicions that Russia is trying to export grain stolen from Ukrainian farmers to regions under its control.

Kiev estimates that up to 25 million tons of grain are currently blocked in its ports. Ankara says it has 20 merchant ships waiting in the region that could be quickly loaded and shipped to world markets.