- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

Parties to Grain Talks Agree to Set Up Coordination Center in Istanbul, Turkish MoD Says

© Sputnik / Sergey Averin / Go to the mediabank Grain harvestig in Donetsl People's Republic
	Grain harvestig in Donetsl People's Republic - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.07.2022
The talks between military delegations of Turkey, Russia and Ukraine, as well as UN officials, to resolve the grain issue were held in Istanbul behind closed doors. The Russian Defense Ministry has revealed that the Russian side rolled out a comprehensive package of measures aimed at enabling the sea-based export of Ukrainian foodstuffs.
The parties to the grain talks have agreed to set up a coordination center in Istanbul, the Turkish Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.
"The main technical issues were agreed upon, such as the creation of a coordination center in Istanbul, where all parties will be represented, joint control at the exit from ports and at points of arrival, ensuring the safety of navigation on transitional routes," Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters.
The Turkish minister described the negotiations as "positive and constructive," adding that the sides had expressed readiness to solve the issue. The Russian and Ukrainian delegations are set to meet again next week in Istanbul, and the talks are expected to end with signing a final document on the matter, the MoD added.
During the meeting, which was held behind closed doors, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, and the UN discussed all the issues related to the safe passage of ships carrying grain.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, for his part, has called the talks "substantive," and voiced hopes that the sides would end up meeting again next week.
He also described the results of the talks as a "ray of hope" and a "critical step" towards a final agreement. Guterres pointed out that more technical work is needed, "but the momentum is clear."
"We are hoping that we'll be able to reconvene very soon, I am sure next week, and hopefully we'll be able to have a final agreement," Guterres said. "But as i said we still need a lot of good will and commitment by all parties, they have shown it. I am encouraged, i am optimistic, but it's not yet fully done."
The UN Secretary-General told reporters that despite the progress made on Ukrainian grain exports in Istanbul, he does not see prospects for an immediate peace deal between Kiev and Moscow
"I do not see immediately the perspective of a peace agreement. I think in any case this demonstrated that the parties are able to have a constructive dialogue and this is, of course, very good news, but for peace we still have a long way to go," Guterres said.
Guterres also thanked Turkey for "their outstanding efforts to convene these talks and their critical role" and Russian and Ukrainian officials for their "constructive engagement."
Earlier in the day, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that the Russian delegation had rolled out a set of proposals for a "speedy and practical solution" to the issue. Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman Igor Konashenkov did not, however, elaborate on what those proposals were. However, a diplomatic source told Sputnik that Moscow would make an attempt to have certain "obstacles" created by Western sanctions on the export of food from Russia removed.
Grain crop. File photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.07.2022
Istanbul Grain Deal
Russian Delegation Rolls Out Set of Proposals at Grain Talks in Turkey - MoD
Russia has on multiple occasions dismissed accusations that it is trying to block the export of Ukrainian grain, pointing out that Ukraine made the passage via the Black Sea unsafe for shipping by planting naval mines along the coast. President Vladimir Putin has called on Ukrainian leadership to clear areas under its control of sea mines to guarantee safe passage. He has stressed that Russia would be prepared to ensure the peaceful transport of goods and the entry of ships into Black and Azov Sea ports, once the mines are cleared.
The UN has warned that grain supply shortages could lead to a global food crisis. On June 30, Russian Defense Ministry announced the troop withdrawal from the Zmeiny Island (Snake Island) in the Odessa region as a gesture of goodwill. The ministry emphasized that in doing so Russia demonstrated that it had no intention to hinder the UN efforts to create a humanitarian corridor for the export of agricultural products from Ukraine.
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