Türkiye reports progress in freeing ships blocked by Russia

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Turkey made progress towards an agreement to release all its cargo ships from Ukraine after two days of negotiations with Russia and Ukraine last week. The deal would require a guarantee from Russian forces not to fire on foreign ships upon departure. The first operation is seen as a model for the evacuation of ships from other countries stranded in Ukraine due to the Russian invasion. However, it is unclear whether the deal would include salvaging the foreign ships seized by Russian-backed proxy forces in Mariupol in June and July 2022.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry is also optimistic about prospects for renewing the Black Sea Grains Agreement, a deal between Turkey and the United Nations that secured a Russian non-attack guarantee for bulk carriers calling at three designated grain ports in Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly impeded the functioning of the agreement, including by slowing down inspections and blocking the nomination of new ships for the program, and has repeatedly threatened to withdraw if its demands are not met. The initiative’s latest renewal cycle expires next Thursday, and in recent weeks Russia’s agreement on an extension has seemed uncertain. However, Russian state media reported that the deal will be extended for another 60 days while talks continue. A virtual Russian blockade of all container, ro/ro, bulk, and general cargo traffic to Ukraine’s Black Sea ports remains in effect.

Tags: Banglar Samriddhi


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