Three ships carrying grain and foodstuffs will depart from Ukrainian ports on Friday under a recent landmark deal, Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said.
“With the intensive work of the Joint Coordination Center, three ships are planned to begin sailing tomorrow from Ukraine’s ports within the scope of grain shipments,” Akar told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Thursday.
Also, an empty ship is expected to arrive in Istanbul, where the Joint Coordination Center is located, for inspections before leaving for Ukraine, Akar added.
Turkey, the United Nations, Russia, and Ukraine signed the landmark deal on July 22 to reopen three Ukrainian ports — Odesa, Chernomorsk, and Yuzhny — for grain that has been stuck for months due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, which is now in its sixth month.
To oversee Ukrainian grain exports, the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul was officially launched on July 27, comprising representatives from Turkey, the U.N., Russia, and Ukraine to enable safe transportation by merchant ships of commercial foodstuffs and fertilizers from the three key Ukrainian Black Sea ports.
Akar underlined that they continued to work with Russian, Ukrainian and U.N. officials for the smooth functioning of the system under the deal.
Having held separate meetings with Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov and Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, Akar exchanged views on the efforts of grain shipments and the latest situation.
On Monday, the first ship to leave Ukraine under the agreement, the Sierra Leone-flagged cargo vessel Razoni, departed from Odesa carrying over 26,500 tons of corn, got security clearance in Istanbul, and is on its way to the Lebanese port of Tripoli, its final destination.