Agreement for Ukrainian grain exports in sight?
On Wednesday, representatives of Ukraine, Russia and Turkey met in Istanbul to negotiate again on a corridor through which 20 million tonnes of grain from Ukraine can be brought to the world market via Turkey. According to Turkish sources an agreement was reached, but nothing has been signed or published yet.
Don't count chickens before they hatch
It is the meeting between Putin and Erdoğan on 19 July that will be decisive, writes analyst Cristian Unteanu in Adevărul:
“In my opinion, the key decisions will be made there, because we must consider that the [current] agreement on grain transport has not yet been signed, and caution is needed, as a UN statement also emphasises. However, if the negotiations are successful, control of the Black Sea could be restructured according to a formula guaranteed by Russia and Turkey, with Ukraine included in the equation - what guarantees remains to be seen, however. The terms of a ceasefire could potentially also be discussed at the meeting, which would [generally] guarantee secure transport routes.”
No other option
Even if the current plan is not official yet, it remains the only viable solution, Milliyet believes:
“The Ukrainian government wanted an assurance that Russia would not attack Odessa if it removed some of the mines laid to protect the port. ... Then the container ships loaded with wheat were to be brought to Istanbul escorted by Turkish military ships. ... Ultimately, it looks like the 'UN-Turkey plan' is the only possible solution, considering that trust between Ukraine and Russia is now at an all-time low.”
Sowing new seeds next spring pointless without exports
The seriousness of the situation for Ukrainian farmers is underlined by business editor Olexandr Detsykin in LB.ua:
“Farmers in Ukraine are currently getting very low prices for their produce, and even at these prices they are having difficulties selling it, since costs [for energy and transport] have also risen very sharply. ... And if the ports are not fully opened by autumn, the grain will simply be lost. 'If we don't start exporting through the ports in autumn or winter, there is no point in going to the fields in spring,' warned [agricultural expert and big businessman] Andrei Dikun. ... The current high prices for grain, vegetable oil, meat, fish and dairy products in the world are still far from their potential highs.”