Russia will renew its involvement in the Black Sea grain deal, the country’s defence ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
Over the weekend, Moscow pulled out of the United Nations-backed deal to allow Ukrainian grain exports, saying it could no longer guarantee the safety of dry cargo ships in the Black Sea Grain Initiative after drone attacks against its naval fleet in Crimea.
The UN said on Monday, however, that grain had continued to leave Ukrainian ports despite the Russian suspension of the deal, but the operation was unlikely to continue for security reasons. Ukrainian authorities reported on the same day, two tugboats carrying a barge full of grain were hit near the port of Ochakiv, with two crewmembers killed. The port is not one of the three covered by the deal but nonetheless underscores the risks vessels face in the region.
Earlier on Wednesday, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Russia had agreed to return to a Turkish and UN brokered deal, with shipments starting as of midday, adding that exports to African nations would be prioritised.
The Russian ministry confirmed the news shortly after, saying that thanks to the involvement of the UN and Turkey, it had been possible to obtain written guarantees from Ukraine not to use the Black Sea grain corridor for military operations against Russia.
“The Russian Federation considers that the guarantees received at the moment appear sufficient, and resumes the implementation of the agreement,” the ministry statement said (translated from Russian).
The deal to export Ukrainian grain was brokered in July and is due for renewal on November 18.