Ukraine grain shipments resume as Russia rejoins deal
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that “shipments will continue from 1200 today (0900 GMT) as planned,” after a call between the Russian and Turkish defense ministers.
“Good news is that following our discussion with Mr. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, Mr. [Russia’s Defense Minister] Sergei Shoigu called Mr. [Defense Minister Hulusi] Akar and announced that grain shipments would continue as of 12:00 today,” Erdoğan told his party members at the parliament.
Erdoğan said that the deal would prioritize shipments to African nations, including Somalia, Djibouti and Sudan, in line with Russia’s concerns that most of the grain was ending up in richer nations.
Russia’s defense ministry confirmed it was resuming participation, saying it had received “sufficient” guarantees from Kiev on demilitarizing the maritime corridor.
“Russia considers that the received guarantees are at the moment sufficient and is resuming the implementation of the agreement,” the ministry said.
The Russian defense ministry on Wednesday said it obtained written guarantees from Kiev “thanks to the participation” of the U.N. and “assistance” from Türkiye.
It said Kiev guaranteed “the non-use of the humanitarian corridor and Ukrainian ports determined in the interests of the export of agricultural products for conducting military operations against the Russian Federation.”
Russia, on Oct. 29, had said it was temporarily pulling out, accusing Ukraine of misusing the safe shipping corridor to launch a drone attack on its Black Sea fleet.
Defense Minister Akar, on Nov. 1, said he had a second phone talk with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu over Russia’s suspension of a landmark grain export deal. Akar also said that there were no problems with the exit of Turkish-flagged ships from Ukraine.
Elaborating on his first phone conversation with the Russian minister on Oct. 31, Akar said Shoigu declared that they were disturbed by the explosions, that the attack in Sevastopol on Oct.29 was contrary to the agreements, security could not be provided, and they could not allow this transportation under these conditions.
Thereupon, he talked to Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov and Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov and shared both Türkiye’s views and Russia’s concerns, he stated.
“Our Ukrainian interlocutors made statements that relieved these concerns both during their conversations with us and during the meetings of the officials at the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul. They have given us [these statements] in writing,” Akar said.
Eventually he had another phone talk with Shoigu on Nov. 1, the minister said. “There is an agreement between the parties that only grain comes out of the ports there and that the corridor is used for humanitarian aid. Mr. Shoigu continues to negotiate with his own authorities within the framework of the information we have provided. We are waiting for an answer from them today or tomorrow,” Akar stated.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also said he and phone talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov twice.
“After the attacks on Russia’s ships, there are some security demands [by Russia] They cited the letters sent by the UN to Russia Russia’s fertilizer and grain are not on the sanction list, but the ships that will carry them cannot approach the ports and receive service,” he said speaking at a panel on Nov. 2.