Amid War, Ukraine And Russia Sign Deal To Relieve Global Food Crisis

Amid War, Ukraine And Russia Sign Deal To Relieve Global Food Crisis

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On Friday, Ukraine and Russia signed a landmark agreement to alleviate a global food crisis caused by stalled Black Sea grain shipping, putting an end to months of debate and sending wheat prices tumbling to levels not seen since Moscow's invasion.

The first major agreement reached between warring parties since the February invasion of Ukraine should help alleviate the conflict's "acute hunger," which the UN estimates will affect an additional 47 million people.

The animosity between Moscow and Kyiv spilled over into the signing ceremony, which was briefly postponed due to disagreements over flag placement around the table and Ukraine's refusal to sign the same document as the Russians.

In the presence of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the two sides eventually inked separate but identical agreements at Istanbul's opulent Dolmabahce Palace.

"Today, on the Black Sea, there is a beacon of hope, a beacon of possibility, and a beacon of relief," Guterres said as he signed the agreement.

Erdogan, a key negotiator with good relations in both Moscow and Kyiv, said the deal would "hopefully re-establish the path to peace." In contrast, Ukraine began the occasion by threatening Russia with an "immediate military response" if it violated the agreement by attacking its ships or staging an incursion around its ports. Later, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that the law would be enforced.

Total wheat production of 20 million tonnes

According to the agreement, Ukrainian grain ships must travel along safe corridors that avoid known mines in the Black Sea.

Large amounts of wheat and other grain have been stymied in Ukrainian ports due to Russian warships and landmines planted by Kyiv to protect against a feared amphibious assault.

According to Zelensky, the agreement allows for the export of approximately 20 million tonnes of produce from the previous crop and the current crop, with Ukraine's grain stocks valued at around $10 billion.

Wheat prices have fallen to levels not seen since Russia's invasion, despite some analysts' reservations about the contract.

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