Russia’s defense minister has told his Turkish counterpart that Moscow has agreed to return to a Turkish and U.N. brokered deal that allowed the shipment of millions of tons Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, Turkey’s president says.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informed Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar that the deal for a humanitarian grain corridor would “continue in the same way as before” as of noon Wednesday.
Erdogan said the renewed deal would prioritize shipments to African nations, including Somalia, Djibouti and Sudan, in line with Russia’s concerns that most of the grain exported since the agreements first was reached in July was ending up in richer nations.
The Russian Defense Ministry said Russia agreed to continue carrying out its role in the deal after receiving written guarantees from Kyiv that Ukraine would not use the sea corridor for military actions against Moscow, according to a statement by the Russian defense ministry
Russia suspended its participation in the grain deal over the weekend, citing allegations of a Ukrainian drone attack against its Black Sea flee. The Russian Defense Ministry said Monday that ship traffic from ports in southern Ukraine was halted, calling the movement “unacceptable."
The Defense Ministry said Wednesday that Ukraine had formally committed to using the safe shipping corridors through the Black Sea “exclusively in accordance with the stipulations of the Black Sea initiative,” a reference to the separate U.N. and Turkey-backed agreements signed by Moscow and Kyiv on July 22.
Ships loaded with grain departed Ukraine on Tuesday despite Russia suspending its participation in the U.N.-brokered deal, which aimed to ensure safe passage of critical food supplies meant for parts of the world struggling with hunger. But the United Nations had said vessels would not move Wednesday, raising concerns about future shipments.
The United Nations and Turkey brokered separate deals with Russia and Ukraine in July to ensure Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia would receive grain and other food from the Black Sea region during Russia’s war in Ukraine.