Turkey says that a plan being brokered under UN auspices to set up safe 'grain corridors' to open Ukraine ports for Black Sea transit has yet to be finalized, but that it's "feasible". Turkey has offered to escort maritime convoys as a neutral power from blockaded Ukraine ports.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu while speaking alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a Wednesday news conference said that for the plan to finally proceed, there would have to be direct negotiations between Moscow and Kiev.
However, so far Ukraine's government hasn't been represented in the Russia-Turkey-UN talks. Kiev has meanwhile not only blamed the Russian military blockade of its ports for causing a global food crisis, but has charged Russian forces with stealing Ukrainian grain.
Further, according to The Associated Press, Ukraine has "expressed concerns that if it removes mines from its Black Sea ports, Russia would be more able to attack its southern coast."
The Russia-Turkey plan to erect 'grain corridor' which would provide safe passage to Ukrainian grain cargo ships out of the Black Sea port of Odessa via joint military escorts is conditioned on the prospect of a successful major de-mining operation of Ukraine's ports.
During Wednesday's press conference in Istanbul, one reality on display was NATO member Turkey's willingness to break with allies in compromising with Russian interests. This also comes curiously in the context of vehement Turkish objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO. The Turkish FM even suggesting dropping sanctions as a possible part of ensuring the grain corridor plan is achieved.
Ukraine's agriculture minister warns of “catastrophic” global grain price increases if export corridor isn't opened up https://t.co/MNezojEqoM— Bloomberg (@business) June 8, 2022
The AP reports this as follows:
Cavusoglu also said Moscow’s request that its involvement in implementing the U.N. plan result in the easing of international sanctions against it was "quite legitimate."
"If the whole world is in need of the products to be exported by Ukraine and the Russian Federation, then a method needs to be established," he said, adding that he hoped "technical preparations" could be made "as soon as possible."
Against this perhaps Turkish pragmatism has been the backdrop of Western leaders telling their societies that "sacrifices" must be made, whether at the pump or grocery store or sending billions in hard-earned tax dollars to Ukraine, for sake of repelling Russian aggression.
Russia and Turkey have announced an agreement to create a de-mined 'grain corridor' for military escorts of Ukrainian grain cargo ships out of the Black Sea port of Odessa pic.twitter.com/muEJx4Uyyy— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) June 6, 2022
Concerning the 'grain corridor,' Foreign Minister Lavrov said early this week the agreement "stipulates that Ukraine will not use the demining process to strengthen its military capability and will not disrupt the Russian navy." But given the continued realities of war and ongoing Russian invasion of the country this could be the central part that derails the Russia-Turkey UN plan, given Ukraine may not sign onto it.