Joint coordination center for Ukraine’s grain shipment opens in Istanbul

ISTANBUL – Türkiye inaugurated the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul on Wednesday to monitor the implementation of the grain shipment from Ukraine, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters.

Located inside the compound of a military university in the city’s European side district of Besiktas, the center consists of 20 representatives from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations, five from each party, according to Akar.

This will guarantee the safe passage of vessels from Ukrainian ports through the Black Sea and the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul to global markets, said the minister.

At the command center, the representatives were seated around a large square table. A map on a big screen was showing the details of the Black Sea and the locations of several vessels.

“This center will register and follow the commercial ships that will be included in the initiative. It will technically track the journey of the ships through satellite, internet, and other means of communication,” Akar said, speaking of The Black Sea Grain Initiative signed in Istanbul on Friday.

Ships will be inspected by joint inspection teams at locations deemed appropriate upon loading at Ukrainian ports and arrival at ports in Türkiye, according to Akar.

“If there is a need for demining, plans agreed by all parties would be made. However, there is no need at this stage,” he added.

Earlier, a source who asked to be identified as “a senior UN official” told Xinhua that the shipments will be inspected to make sure there will be no transportation of weapons.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said he hoped the deal would work, according to media reports.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar is speaking at the Joint Coordination Center for Ukraine’s grain shipments in Istanbul, Türkiye on July 27, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]
The press service of the Ukrainian Naval Forces said in a statement on Wednesday that operations have resumed in the Ukrainian Black Sea ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and Pivdenny in line with the grain exports deal signed last week in Türkiye.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday that the deal would allow both Ukraine and Russia to export their products.

“There are products to be exported by Russia as well, and the deal paves the way for it. Likewise, it paves the way for the export of Ukraine’s grain, sunflower, and sunflower oil,” he said on TV100 broadcaster.

Cavusoglu pointed out that Türkiye would continue to play its constructive role to ensure the plan runs smoothly.

Russia and Ukraine signed respectively the initiative with Türkiye under the UN auspices on Friday, which would allow significant volumes of food and fertilizer exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea.