Turkey will open a new joint shipping coordination center in Istanbul tomorrow to oversee Ukrainian grain exports. This comes only four days after a Russian missile strike on the port of Odessa threatened to derail a UN-mediated agreement to transport millions of tons of grain out of the war zone.
Turkey’s defense ministry, which signed the agreement with the UN, Russia, and Ukraine, said that a ceremony would be held to open the center at its National Defense University.
The center will be staffed by members of all four parties to the agreement who will monitor ships transiting the Black Sea to Turkey’s Bosphorus strait and off to world markets.
“An agreement has been reached on the establishment of a coordination center with representatives of all sides, joint controls for checking grains at harbors,” said Defense Minister Hulusi Akar. “It will ensuring the safety of the vessels in the transit routes.”
The new shipping center is part of the landmark deal signed on Friday by Moscow and Kyiv and mediated by the United Nations and Turkey. It was hailed as a breakthough after nearly five months of punishing fighting since Russia invaded its neighbor. It is seen as crucial to curbing soaring global food prices by allowing grain exports to be shipped from Black Sea ports.
The deal was at risk when Russian missiles hit Odesa – Ukraine’s primary grain export port – on Saturday but Ukraine indicated yesterday that the deal and plans to resume grain exports could still go forward.
Moscow brushed aside concerns that the deal might be derailed by a Russian missile strike, saying it targeted only military infrastructure.
There are no signs yet about when the exports might begin or when insurance concerns will be settled.
Also Read: Ship Insurers Sail Into the Unknown as Ukraine Grain Deal Reached
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