LONDON (Middle East Eyes) - Russia has resumed its participation in the Black Sea grain initiative after Ukraine provided written guarantees under Turkish mediation.
Two people familiar with the talks said Ukraine had promised to use the grain corridor solely for civilian and humanitarian purposes, and not for launching attacks on Russian assets.
“They also said they will avoid actions that could threaten the safety of the corridor,” one person familiar with the negotiations said.
Russia said last week that it had suspended its involvement in the deal after suspected Ukrainian air and sea attacks on Russian naval ships in Crimea’s Sevastopol. Russia said that civilian ships might have been used to attack the port.
The grain deal allows Ukrainian agricultural products to be shipped from Odesa under UN supervision, whereby every inbound and outbound cargo ship is inspected alongside Russian, Ukrainian and Turkish delegations to satisfy all parties. The deal is set to expire on 18 November, but UN officials are hopeful that it will be extended.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has complained about the fact that the majority of the grain is going to developed countries rather than to nations with food crises.
Sources say Russia turned a blind eye to the convoys on Monday and Tuesday because they were already loaded with grain. The UN-led Black Sea Grain Initiative Joint Coordination Centre also wanted to ease maritime traffic near Istanbul. Dozens of ships destined for Ukraine were stuck there, awaiting inspection.
Two sources familiar with the issue said the grain deal couldn’t progress unless the Russian complaints regarding their own exports were resolved.