Moscow has reached an agreement with Kyiv and Ankara on a preliminary scheme for the exit of Ukrainian ships carrying grain from Odesa: the Turkish military will help demine the neighboring country’s territorial seas and also escort ships to neutral waters. A high-ranking source told Izvestia that the Russian ships will meet the vessels there and escort them to the Bosphorus. According to the source, the scheme has only been agreed upon for Odesa so far. At the same time, Ukrainian grain is being transferred to the EU by rail and bus, but it has not yet reached end consumers. The Turkish parliament told Izvestia that Ankara is taking part in this operation because resolving the international food crisis is critical for the country.
“The scheme will be as follows: the Turkish military will demine the coastal area around Odessa. Vessels will leave the port, escorted by Turkish ships, for the neutral waters of the Black Sea to a specified location. They will be guarded farther to the Bosporus by Russian warships to ensure their safe passage through the Black Sea and to avoid provocations. This procedure has been agreed upon with Turkey and Ukraine; the precise route of the ships will be specified later,” the source emphasized.
According to the source, the “road map” will be approved on June 8-9 during the visit of the heads of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defense to Turkey. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has already confirmed that Sergey Lavrov will discuss the issue of grain exports during his visit to Ankara. The source also specified that UN representatives would also participate in the talks.
Turkey’s intention to participate in the unblocking of Ukrainian ports is motivated by the fact that the country itself may suffer from the food crisis and wants to prevent it, Member of the National Assembly of Turkey Ozturk Yilmaz told the newspaper.
Turkish political scientist Onur Sinan Guzaltan noted that Ankara’s participation in this matter is “anticipated and should be regarded normal,” given its mediation in the negotiations between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations.