At least ten cargo ships were engaged with full holds in the maritime corridor, including the Ikaria Angel, chartered by the World Food Program with 30,000 tonnes of wheat destined for Djibouti, according to the Marine Traffic site.
The Joint Coordination Center (JCC), responsible for overseeing the international agreement on Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea, has scheduled a dozen cargo ships departing from Ukrainian ports on the day.
Four other boats were to head from Istanbul to Ukraine after inspection of their holds.
However, Moscow warned against the “risky” and even “dangerous” continuation of navigation in the Black Sea without its agreement: “Under conditions where Russia refers to the impossibility of guaranteeing the safety of navigation in these areas, a Such an agreement is difficult to implement,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
But in the morning, the United Nations coordinator for the Ukrainian Grain Initiative, Amir Abdulla, had estimated on Twitter that “no civilian cargo” should “become a military target or be held hostage. must go”.
The agreement signed under the auspices of the United Nations and Ankara with Russia and Ukraine to guarantee Ukrainian exports should make it possible to meet the basic food needs of 45 countries, including 33 in Africa, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The uncertainties weighing on the future of this commitment immediately caused a rebound in prices on the international markets, the ton of wheat exceeding 354 euros on Euronext during the session.
The UN and Turkey are therefore engaged in all-out diplomacy to keep it afloat.
“Although Russia is hesitant because the same facilities (as in Ukraine, editor’s note) have not been offered to it, we are determined to continue our efforts in the service of humanity,” the president said on Monday. Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
An agreement signed separately with Russia, and without Ukraine, was to facilitate exports of Russian fertilizers and agricultural products, hampered by Western sanctions. But it was never really applied.
– Inspections continue –
Russia used the pretext of a drone attack on Crimea on Friday to “suspend” its adhesion to the agreement on Ukrainian exports.
On Sunday, it withdrew “until further notice” from ship inspections, made compulsory by the international agreement.
But Turkey, officially warned, does not admit defeat.
On Monday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar continued his consultations with his Ukrainian counterpart and was due to join the Russian minister in the evening.
“We must continue. Suspending this initiative would not benefit either Russia or Ukraine,” he insisted, calling on “the parties to review their decisions.”
The minister had already on Sunday “reminded the parties of the importance of continuing this initiative (…) and of avoiding any provocation which will have negative effects”.
The JCC, which organizes ship inspections in Istanbul, announced the arrival of additional inspectors provided by the Turkish and United Nations delegations: “ten teams” were to inspect forty ships bound for Ukraine on Monday.
The JCC specified on Sunday evening that it had “obtained the agreement of Ukraine” having “informed” the Russian delegation: it assured that the latter “intended to continue the dialogue with Turkey and the UN”.
“The delegation of the Russian Federation has also expressed its readiness to cooperate remotely on points that require an immediate decision,” added the Coordination Center.
After a halt on Saturday, eleven cargo ships could be inspected on Sunday.
The agreement on Ukrainian grain exports that entered into force on August 1 expires on November 19. The UN has already called for its extension for one year.
It allowed to export more than 9.5 million tons of agricultural products from Ukraine, 40% of which to developing countries.
The slowness of operations on the Bosphorus was however denounced by Ukraine, which accused Russia of dragging out inspections.
On Sunday, 112 cargo ships were waiting off Istanbul to be inspected, including 97 from Ukraine with full holds, according to the JCC.