Kyiv pitches Turkey to oversee 'grain corridor' without Moscow's involvement
Vasyl Bodnar (Photo - press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Ukraine has submitted to Turkey a proposal to resume the operation of the "grain corridor" without Russia. There is no final answer yet, stated the Ambassador of Ukraine to Turkey, Vasyl Bodnar.

"So far, there is no final confirmation. But since the ships are already sailing through the territorial waters of Romania, Bulgaria, as well as Turkey and pass through the straits without restrictions, this is actually a rational way," the diplomat said during a press conference at the Ukraine Media Center.

The ambassador recalled that within the framework of the "grain deal" there were cases when Russia restricted the passage of ships to Ukraine or tried to regulate access to one or another Ukrainian port. In addition, the list of products that could be exported from the territory of Ukraine was limited.

Since there are no export restrictions on Ukrainian products for ships passing through the humanitarian corridor, such an alternative option may be one of the main ones to resolve the situation.

Currently, Turkey and the UN are trying to reach an agreed position, based on the results of negotiations with Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

"We, of course, take a constructive position towards our partners – Turkey, the UN and mediators – and will work out mechanisms that will be beneficial to our side, but will not harm the principled position regarding the lifting of sanctions from Russia – this is an absolutely wrong path," stressed Bodnar.

REFERENCE. The Black Sea Grain Initiative (grain deal) was concluded on July 22, 2022 between Russia, Turkey, the UN, and Ukraine. It provided for the safe export of grain from the Black Sea ports of Ukraine. Until July 2023, the agreement was extended every three months, but it formally ended on July 17, after which the Russian Federation announced its withdrawal from the agreement due to "non-satisfaction of its demands." The main demand put forward by Moscow is the connection of Rosselkhozbank to the international SWIFT system for interstate transactions.

On September 4, the presidents of Turkey and Russia met in Sochi. The main agenda was the restoration of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, but the negotiations concluded without an agreement.

To restore the grain deal, the Kremlin is waiting for the lifting of part of the sanctions on the supply of Russian grain and fertilizers to European markets.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba said that Ukraine will insist on maintaining sanctions against Russia regarding the grain agreement. He noted that there are no sanctions against the export of Russian agricultural products anyway, and the Kremlin's statements in this regard are manipulations.

Back in July, Ukraine offered Turkey and the UN to continue the work of the grain corridor in the Black Sea without Russia. Turkish warships could be involved in the operation of the grain corridor. But Ankara considered such a step very risky.

After the withdrawal of the Russian Federation from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, it stated that it would not give guarantees of non-attack on civilian vessels. On July 17, 2023, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered the UN and Turkey to continue the work of the corridor without Russia.

After withdrawing from the grain agreement, Russia has been targeting ports and grain warehouses in Odesa Oblast with missiles and drones.