Dana Hordiichuk, Ekonomichna Pravda – MONDAY, 25 JULY 2022, 14:59
After Russia's attack on the port of Odesa, Ukraine plans to continue navigation in the Black Sea, but in the event of a threat to merchant ships at sea, the initiative may be stopped.
Oleksandr Kubrakov, the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, announced this during a joint briefing at the Media Center Ukraine.
Kubrakov emphasised that, despite Russia's attack on the port of Odesa on the very first day after signing the agreement in Istanbul, Ukraine continues to plan navigation in the Black Sea.
"This is as important for us as it is for the entire civilised world. If something happens in the Black Sea, of course, the whole initiative will be stopped," he added. "We signed an agreement with the UN and Turkey. These are the parties that must guarantee security. If they guarantee it – it works, if they don't guarantee it – it doesn't work."
Kubrakov noted that merchant ships will be organised into convoys that will accompany Ukrainian ships. This may happen "in the next few days".
For this, it is necessary to establish a Coordination Centre in Istanbul, for which representatives of Ukraine have already arrived in Turkey. Both civilian and military representatives are among them. The launch of the centre is planned for Wednesday, 27 July.
In addition, Yurii Vaskov, the Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, said that the technical fleet of state-owned enterprises of the Ministry of Infrastructure will check the corridors established by Ukraine for passage to and from Ukrainian ports before grain ships travel along these routes.
During the briefing, Mykola Solskyi, the Minister of Agricultural Policy of Ukraine, noted that the state can intervene in the market if it goes "in the wrong direction" and that the main thing for traders will be to get extra profits. However, the final role of the state in this process and the possibility of buying and reselling grain is now being determined.
An agreement on lifting the blockade of Ukrainian ports for the export of grain was signed in Istanbul on Friday, 22 July.
The following day, 23 July, Russian troops hit the seaport of Odesa with missiles – 2 missiles were shot down by the Ukrainian air defence forces, and another 2 hit the port's infrastructure facilities.
The port of Chornomorsk may be the first to operate as part of the lifting of the blockade, with the first ship potentially passing through the released corridors within four days.
Thanks to the lifting of blockades at three Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea, export revenue will increase by $1 billion per month. The three Black Sea ports of Ukraine in question will be able to export about 3 million tons of agricultural products every month according to the estimate of the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine.