Deal close for Ukraine Black Sea port reopening

Picturesque agricultural landscape. Shining new building of a modern granary and a barge for transporting grain on the banks of the Dnieper River, Ukraine. Agriculture in Eastern Europe

Governments in Russia and Ukraine are close to signing a deal to reopen Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s office said the deal, which has not yet been fully released, is due to be signed at 4.30 pm Kyiv time 22 July.

Ukraine’s seaports have been blockaded by Russia’s fleet since conflict began earlier February this year. Ukraine is one of the largest exporters of grain, with the blockade sending global prices soaring.

Ukrainian President Vlodymyr Zelensky said on 21 July that Turkey will soon make an announcement regarding the nation’s seaports.

“Tomorrow we also expect news for our state from Turkey – regarding the unblocking of our ports,” Zelensky said.

Earlier on Thursday, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko told Reuters: “A document may be signed which will bind the sides to (ensure) safe functioning of export routes in the Black Sea.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the UN and Turkey have been working for two months to create a package to resume Ukraine’s Black Sea grain exports.

Earlier this month Russian armed forces withdrew from the key outpost on Snake Island in the Black Sea.

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