Grain exports from Ukraine restart after agreement with Russia

The Istanbul Coordination Center for Grain Exports (JCC) said the Russian delegation "has resumed work and joint inspections" of ships with inspectors from Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations.

Grain exports from Ukraine restart after agreement with Russia

The Istanbul Coordination Center for Grain Exports (JCC) said the Russian delegation "has resumed work and joint inspections" of ships with inspectors from Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations. According to the state news agency Anadolu, the Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar had previously confirmed the resumption of the grain agreement. Akar spoke of six ships that had left Ukrainian ports.

The US and the UN welcomed the resumption of the grain agreement, mediated by Turkey. According to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, ten million tons of grain and other food have already been exported through the Black Sea Protection Corridor since the agreement was signed in July. Russia's suspension of participation for several days made the "importance" of the agreement clear. This reduces "the risk of hunger" in the world.

Washington and the United Nations stressed that the agreement must now be extended beyond November 19. Guterres also called for the "removal of the remaining obstacles to the export of Russian food and fertilizers". Moscow has repeatedly complained that it cannot sell its food and fertilizers.

According to a chief negotiator at the United Nations, "important steps forward" were taken in the negotiations on exports of Russian fertilizers on Thursday. However, there is still "a long way to go," said Rebeca Grynspan.

In the meantime, it is still unclear whether Russia will extend its participation in the grain agreement, which has now been resumed. The current resumption of the agreement does not mean an extension, it was said from Moscow. "An overall assessment of the success of the agreement" still needs to be made, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. It is believed that a breakthrough on the fertilizer issue could facilitate an agreement on the grain deal.

Moscow suspended the agreement on Saturday, citing an attack on its Black Sea fleet as the reason. Despite Russia's withdrawal from the agreement, several grain carriers had sailed through the Black Sea in the past few days.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defense on Wednesday, Moscow received sufficient guarantees from Kyiv that the shipping corridor intended for grain transport would not be used for military purposes. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow reserves the right to withdraw from the agreements "if these guarantees are violated by Ukraine".

Moscow summoned the British ambassador on Thursday in response to drone strikes against the Russian Black Sea fleet off the annexed Crimea peninsula. Russia accuses Britain of being involved in the attacks.

Such "confrontational actions by the British harbor the danger of an escalation of the situation" and could lead to "unpredictable and dangerous consequences," the Russian Foreign Ministry warned. A "sharp protest" was sent to the British ambassador and "concrete facts" were presented for London's "hostile provocations". Britain had denied Russia's allegations.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Russia and Ukraine said they had exchanged more than 200 prisoners. "Today we are bringing back 107 of our fighters from Ukrainian prisons," Donetsk separatist leader Denis Puschilin told Telegram. "We will return the same number of prisoners to Ukraine."

Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Andriy Yermak confirmed that Kyiv received 107 prisoners. Both warring factions had repeatedly exchanged prisoners in the past few weeks.

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