This photograph taken on July 27, 2022 shows a computer screen displaying the Black Sea at the opening of the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) for Ukrainian grain exports in Istanbul on July 27, 2022. Türkiye formally opened a joint coordination center for Ukrainian grain exports under a UN-backed deal aimed at resuming shipments for the first time since the Russia-Ukraine conflict began in February. (OZAN KOSE / AFP)
ISTANBUL / KIEV / BEIJING – Türkiye inaugurated the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul on Wednesday to monitor the implementation of the grain shipment from Ukraine, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters.
Located inside the compound of a military university in the city's European side district of Besiktas, the center consists of 20 representatives from Russia, Ukraine, Türkiye and the United Nations, five from each party, according to Akar.
The coordination center will guarantee the safe passage of vessels from Ukrainian ports through the Black Sea and the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul to global markets, said Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar
This will guarantee the safe passage of vessels from Ukrainian ports through the Black Sea and the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul to global markets, said the minister.
"This center will register and follow the commercial ships that will be included in the initiative. It will technically track the journey of the ships through satellite, internet, and other means of communication," Akar said.
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"If there is a need for demining, plans agreed by all parties would be made. However, there is no need at this stage," he added.
Ships will be inspected by joint inspection teams at locations deemed appropriate upon loading at Ukrainian ports and arrival at ports in Türkiye, according to Akar.
Preparation is being made for the first grain-laden ship to leave the Ukrainian ports, he noted.
"We believe that the work to be carried out through the Joint Coordination Center will make significant contributions to overcoming the food crisis affecting the whole world and reduction in prices," Akar said.
According to the minister, more than 25 million tons of grain are waiting at Ukrainian ports to be delivered through the safe corridor to the countries in need.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, signed respectively by Russia and Ukraine with Türkiye under the UN auspices on Friday in Istanbul, would allow significant volumes of food and fertilizer exports from three key Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea, namely Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny.
Ukraine is among the world's leading grain exporters, supplying more than 45 million tons annually to the global market, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
A handout image made available by the Odessa City Council Telegram channel on July 24, 2022, shows Ukrainian firefighters battling a fire on a boat burning in the port of Odessa after missiles hit the port on July 23, 2022. (STR / ODESSA CITY COUNCIL TELEGRAM CHANNEL / AFP)
On Monday, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said a recent strike carried out by Russian armed forces on Ukrainian military infrastructure in Odessa should not affect the start of grain exports.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced Sunday that the country's armed forces launched a missile attack on the territory of a shipyard in Odessa, destroying a Ukrainian military ship and a depot with US Harpoon anti-ship missiles.
"This (strike) is only linked to military infrastructure. This is in no way connected with the infrastructure that will be used to fulfill the agreements and export grain," Peskov said commenting on the attack.
Meanwhile, Ukraine will get some 1.6 billion euros (about $1.62 billion) from the European Investment Bank (EIB), Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced on Tuesday.
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"Yesterday, the European Investment Bank agreed to disburse 1.6 billion euros to Ukraine, with 1 billion euros out of this sum to be allocated promptly," Shmyhal told a cabinet meeting, according to the government's press service.
Shmyhal said the funds will be directed for the activities to prepare Ukraine for the heating season, including the restoration of damaged electricity, water and heat supply facilities.
According to the Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Ukraine will also use part of the funding from the EIB to finance projects in energy efficiency, roads, transport, education, infrastructure and other sectors.
Kiev plans to raise $20 billion in international aid from its Western partners by the end of 2022, said Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko at a public event last month.
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On the other hand, the Russian Defense Ministry said that their armed forces have used high-precision air-based missiles to hit a temporary deployment point of foreign legion units near Donetsk's Kostantinovka and killed over 40 foreign mercenaries, most of them Poles.
Russia also used high-precision weapons to strike one artillery battalion of Ukraine, destroying more than 70 percent of its personnel and weapons, it added.
Ukraine's Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories said Tuesday the bodies of twenty-five Ukrainian servicemen killed in the Russia-Ukraine conflict have been returned to Ukraine.
The operation to hand over the bodies to the Ukrainian side was carried out by joint efforts of Ukraine's Commissioner for Missing Persons Oleg Kotenko and the country's law enforcement agencies, the ministry's press service said in a statement.