Russia, Ukraine sign grain export deal in Turkey with input from U.N., averting global food crisis

The agreement will allow Ukrainian export ships full of grain to make their way through the Black Sea.
Wheat field, western Ukraine, July 8, 2020

July 22, 2022 11:04am

Updated: July 22, 2022 11:48am

A deal was signed Friday by Moscow and Kyiv to allow for the safe export of grains and other food products from Ukraine as the world continues to deal with a food shortage that is one fallout of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.

"Today, there is a beacon on the Black Sea – a beacon of hope, a beacon of possibility, a beacon of relief in a world that needs it more than ever," United Nations Secretary General António Guterres told reporters. "This is an agreement for the world."

Officials from Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey agreed to an arrangement that will allow merchant ships with grain and other exports to travel through the Black Sea without fear of danger from Russian forces.

Ukrainian naval vessels will sweep waters for explosive mines – a necessary precaution following the launch of close to 400 mines by Russian forces earlier this year.

Turkey, which has hosted the negotiations between the two nations, will be responsible for inspecting the grain ships in an effort to appease Russian forces concerned about arms smuggling. The U.N. will also establish an office in Istanbul to monitor the situation. 

The deal, says Guterres, will deliver "relief for developing countries on the edge of bankruptcy and the most vulnerable people on the edge of famine. ... It will help stabilize global food prices which were already at record levels even before the war – a true nightmare for developing countries."

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, joined the secretary general at the signing ceremony and called on both sides to end the war in Ukraine.

"There will be no winner in this war," he said. "the whole world will suffer."