Despite Russia’s decision to withdraw from a historic agreement intended to solve a worldwide food crisis, cargo ships filled with grain and other agricultural supplies departed Ukrainian ports on Monday.
Russia cautioned that continuing to implement the accord without its involvement would be “hazardous,” therefore Turkey, one of the deal’s brokers, has escalated diplomatic efforts with the two at-war nations in an effort to rescue it.
On Monday, at least 10 ships, including the Ikaria Angel, a World Food Programme-chartered vessel carrying 30,000 tonnes of wheat for disaster relief in the Horn of Africa, departed Ukrainian ports, according to a website that monitors maritime activity.
“Military targets or hostages cannot ever be taken from or retained aboard civilian cargo ships. Food must be served, “The UN’s Black Sea Grain Initiative Coordinator, Amir M. Abdulla, tweeted on Monday.
The Joint Coordination Center (JCC), which has been monitoring the deal mediated by Turkey and the UN, stated that a total of 12 ships were scheduled to depart Ukrainian ports on Monday and four more were scheduled to arrive in the nation.
The maritime traffic occurred two days after Russia informed the UN and Turkey that it was discontinuing its participation in the grain accord. Moscow had accused Ukraine of attacking its Black Sea Fleet in Crimea with a “massive” drone strike.
The Russian accusations have been referred to by Ukraine as a “false pretext.”
Additionally, Moscow stopped participating in ship inspections, which were required under the agreement.
Following the Russian decision, grain prices increased on Monday.
Despite Russia’s actions, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to continue his country’s efforts to maintain the deal in effect. Turkey has maintained its neutrality during the eight-month conflict in Ukraine.
Erdogan stated in a televised speech that “we will steadfastly continue our efforts to serve mankind” notwithstanding Russia’s reluctant actions.
If Erdogan could persuade Vladimir Putin to return to the negotiating table, according to Turkey expert Soner Cagaptay, it would strengthen Ankara’s reputation as a nation that can communicate with both Russia and Ukraine while remaining impartial.
“If Turkey is successful in getting Russia back into the agreement, Ankara will be able to tell everyone, “Hey, let me stay where I am because you know that it works and it helps you.” For Ankara, it might be a huge diplomatic step “He informed AFP.
Turkey is a member of NATO and has cordial ties with its two neighbors on the Black Sea.
The Ukrainian, Turkish, and UN delegations agreed on the shipping timetable for Monday, and Russia was informed of the moves, the JCC said in a statement late on Sunday.
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, “as a party to the agreement, they have been instructed to take the required procedures to secure the safety of the vessels.”
The Kremlin said that enforcing the accord without its involvement would be “dangerous.”
“Such a compromise is unlikely possible given that Russia claims it is impossible to ensure the safety of navigation in certain areas. And it takes on a different personality, becoming considerably riskier, hazardous, “Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin, told reporters.
Hulusi Akar, the defense minister of Turkey, promised to call Sergei Shoigu, his colleague in Russia, on Monday night.
“This (the accord) needs to continue. Suspending this project would not assist Russia, Ukraine, or anybody else “He stated.
Following Russia’s invasion in late February, Ukraine, one of the biggest grain exporters in the world, was obliged to stop practically all shipments.
To lessen the global food crisis brought on by the conflict, the July agreement to free Syrian grain exports is essential.
It was set to be extended on November 19 and has previously permitted the shipment of more than 9.5 million tonnes of grain from Ukraine.
Despite Western sanctions on Moscow, a separate agreement reached with Russia authorized the export of Russian food and fertilizers. Moscow has been complaining about the situation for weeks, but it was never put into action.