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Minister: Inspections of ships carrying Ukrainian grain to resume in Turkish territorial waters
Following a meeting with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, an agreement has been reached to renew registration and inspection procedures for ships arriving to load Ukrainian grain, Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov reported on April 19.
According to Kubrakov, no inspections of ships carrying Ukrainian grain were conducted within Turkey's territorial waters between April 17-18. The Ukrainian side proposed on April 18 "at least" two inspections for both the incoming and outgoing fleets, which the Turkish side also supported. However, Russia prevented the inspections from happening.
The European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, said on April 17 that Russia had "once again" blocked 50 ships carrying "urgently needed" Ukrainian grain in the Black Sea.
The UN and Turkey-brokered grain deal, first signed in July 2022, has been paramount in stopping global food prices from skyrocketing. After starting its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia blocked Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea, hindering Ukraine from exporting its grain and forcing Kyiv to start exporting overland through neighboring countries.
"Despite the fact that ship inspections will be resumed, we will continue consulting with the UN and Turkey on ways to ensure the full implementation of the grain agreement in compliance with the obligations of all parties and procedures," Kubrakov wrote.
On March 18, Kubrakov announced the extension of the grain deal, allowing Ukraine to export millions of tons of agricultural products through the Black Sea for 120 more days.
The news came after Russian officials repeatedly threatened to back out of the deal, saying they would renew the deal only if certain conditions were met and that they were "ready" to extend it for only 60 days.