Russia on Wednesday agreed to rejoin the deal that has allowed grain shipments to leave Ukraine’s Black Sea ports after successful mediation from Turkey.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced that grain shipments resumed out of safe corridors set up by the agreement at 12pm Moscow time on Wednesday.
Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the agreement on Tuesday, and Russia’s defense minister notified his Turkish counterpart the following day that Moscow will resume its participation in the deal.
Moscow said it suspended its participation in response to a weekend drone attack on its Black Sea Fleet in Crimea it blamed on Ukraine. Russia claimed that some of the drones traveled through the safe corridors to launch the attack.
Russian officials said they agreed to resume participation in the deal after receiving guarantees from Ukraine. “We managed to receive written guarantees from Ukraine that it will not use the humanitarian corridor and Ukrainian ports involved in the export of agricultural goods to conduct military activities against Russia,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
Russia’s short pause in the deal didn’t have much impact on grain shipments, as vessels were still moving out of Ukraine on Monday and Tuesday. Putin warned that Russia could suspend its participation again if Ukraine doesn’t live up to its guarantees.
“I have given instructions to the Defense Ministry to resume our full participation in this endeavor. At the same time, Russia reserves the right to withdraw from these agreements, if these guarantees are violated by Ukraine,” he said.
The grain deal is due to expire on November 19, and Russia has warned it may not extend the agreement. As part of the deal, which was signed in July, Russia was given assurances that there would be steps to facilitate the export of Russian agricultural products, but Moscow says that hasn’t happened.