Turning point in Ukraine’s wheat crisis: What should be the first real agreement on corridors in the Black Sea to export grain from Ukraine’s ports will be signed on Friday in Istanbul. And above all, the first agreement between Moscow and Kiev since the start of the war on February 24. It is no coincidence that the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, was also present. This was announced by the office of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the chief mediator of the agreement to be signed by the Russian and Ukrainian delegations at the lavish Dolmabahce Palace on the Bosphorus.
It was understood that the agreement had been in the air since the meeting three days ago in Tehran between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who spoke of “progress in the export of Ukrainian wheat”, which he described as a “good gesture”. However, Putin himself stressed that any agreement must also include a ban on exports of Russian wheat. For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that “when we solve this problem, not only wheat and sunflower oil export route from Ukraine, but also products from Russia will be opened.”
Hence the turning point and advertising. “The wheat export agreement, which is of fundamental importance to global food security, will be signed in Istanbul under the auspices of President Erdoğan and UN Secretary-General Guterres with the Ukrainian and Russian delegations,” said spokesman for Turkish leader Ibrahim Kalin. .
A member of the Kyiv delegation to the negotiations, Rustam Omirov, said that shipments could be resumed from three ports under full Ukrainian control, namely, Odessa, Pevdeny and Chornomoresk. An estimated 25 million tons of wheat and other grains were blocked at Ukrainian ports. The blockade caused a global food crisis.
Meanwhile, the nuclear spectrum continues to hover over the war, even if at the moment concerns center around a possible accident at the Zaporizhzhya power plant, at the center of the fighting, rather than a clash of great powers. The Ukrainians accused the Russians of wanting to use the plant – the largest in Europe, which includes six reactors – to store missiles, tanks and explosives. While Moscow stated that Kyiv forces’ attacks on the site aimed at causing a “nuclear catastrophe in Europe.”
Ukraine, Lukashenko: “Let’s end it here, if we go any further there will be a nuclear conflict”
But fears do not subside even as the conflict may widen, leading to an atomic confrontation between Russia and NATO. This was, at least, the warning issued by the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. “Let’s stop – said Lukchenko, Moscow’s most faithful ally – and then we will find out how to continue to live. There is no need to move forward. Far away there is the abyss of nuclear war.” While former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev used his usual combative tones to say that “as a result of everything that is happening, Ukraine can lose what remains of its state sovereignty and disappear from the world map.”
In the field, in the past few hours, three people were killed and 19 others were injured in Russian bombing of the city of Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine. But of particular concern is the dangerous situation of the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhya power plant, which on Wednesday reported an attack by Ukrainian kamikaze drones on the site, killing 11 people, including 4 seriously. The same sources said that service buildings were hit, but none of the reactors at the station were targeted. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Kyiv’s goal was precisely to create a “nuclear disaster”. The Ukrainians responded, saying that it was Russian forces that endangered the security of the plant, which is still operated by Ukrainian technicians, and they use it to store all kinds of weapons. “Russian military forces – proclaimed Energoatom, the state company that oversees nuclear plants in Ukraine – ask the power plant management to open the engine rooms of the first, second and third units in order to be able to deposit the entire military arsenal” . While last Saturday, the head of Energoatom, Pedro Cotten, accused Russia of also using the station to install missile launch systems.
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