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Turkey struggles to push Russia, Ukraine into grain deal to avert food crisis

As Turkey tackles the global food shortage by negotiating safe passage for grain stuck in Black Sea ports, it’s met with resistance from Ukraine with claims that Russia was imposing unreasonable conditions. 

The child-like finger-pointing actions taken by Ukraine and Russia are reaching heights to the point of a fragile world. As the two countries continue to struggle due to a rise in not only economic imbalance but there also seems to be an imbalance in justice and violence as well. 

As the West and Ukraine continue to maintain their united front, they continue to push the claim that Moscow continues to weaponize food supplies. The significant hold-up from Ukraine is that the Kremlin allegedly said free shipment depended on an end to sanctions.

Russia gave world leaders whiplash when Turkey came back, releasing a statement counter-acting the claims made by Ukraine. Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said on Wednesday in Ankara that talks with his Russian colleague Sergei Lavrov were “fruitful, and restarting Ukrainian grain exports along a sea corridor was reasonable.”

Also, on Wednesday, director of the Ukrainian grain traders’ union UGA, Serhiy Ivashchenko, told an online conference that he questioned Turkey’s ability to mediate the unblocking of Ukrainian grain, “Turkey as a guarantor is an insufficient force in the Black Sea to guarantee the safety of cargo.” His comments left many questions about the validity of what Turkey has to say. Russia and Turkey have stood in unison when it came to adding the nordic countries of Finland and Sweden to the NATO alliance, making Moscow and Turkey seem like they could be in cahoots. 

In past months, Turkey had offered to be the mediator of the ongoing Ukraine conflict, whose invasion began on February 24, 2022. 

Ukraine exported approximately 6 million tons of grain a month before February 24. The country, which used to ship most of its products via seaports, has been forced to move grain by railway to its western border or through its minor Danube river ports. The state railway Ukrzaliznytsia stated that even with enhanced loading and handling capacity, Danube ports and trains could not compensate for the lack of seaports.

Moscow continues to label its action a special military operation.

After the director of the Ukrainian grain traders’ union, UGA Serhiy Ivashchenko stated that it could take at least two-to-three months to remove mines from Ukrainian ports and suggested that the Turkish and Romanian navies be involved, Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he had discussed with Britain and Turkey the idea of a navy from a third country guaranteeing safe passage for Ukraine’s grain exports through the Black Sea this past week.

Deputy director of Ukrzaliznytsia commercial department, Valerii Tkachov, spoke alongside Ivashchenko at Wednesday’s online grain conference the maximum volume of grain it can deliver to exports could rise to 1.5 million tons a month over the coming weeks from around 800,000 tons in May. 



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