Dozens of cargo ships have started preparing to depart from three Black Sea ports in line with a Türkiye-brokered deal signed last week.
Kiev has said that work had resumed at three Black Sea ports designated under a recent deal with Russia to resume cereals exports that have been blocked by Moscow’s incursion into Ukraine.
“In connection with the signing of the agreement on the unblocking of Ukrainian ports for the export of grain, work has resumed in the ports of Odessa, Chernomorsk and Pivdennyi,” the Ukrainian navy said in a statement on social media on Wednesday.
Last week, Kiev and Moscow agreed a Türkiye-brokered deal to allow blocked Ukrainian grain to be exported from the three ports.
Ukraine said on Monday that some exports could restart as early as “this week”.
The navy said in its statement that when exports do resume, cargo ships will be escorted to and from the ports.
“The entry and exit of ships to seaports will be carried out by forming a convoy that will accompany the lead ship,” it said in the statement, adding that safe routes were still being determined.
Joint coordination centre
Türkiye formally opened a joint coordination centre as part of the deal at a ceremony in Istanbul on Wednesday.
“The centre consists of five representatives – both military and civilian – each from Türkiye, Russia, Ukraine and the UN. There will be no military element in the field,” Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters at the ceremony.
Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of agricultural products, but Moscow’s war has severely disrupted Ukrainian wheat exports as the fighting damaged harvests and left ports blocked and mined.