(SYLLABUS RELEVANCE: GS 2: International Relations)
Why is it in the news?
- Russian President Vladimir Putin to host Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, Russia.
- Meeting scheduled after Moscow terminated a Ukrainian grain deal partially brokered by Turkey.
Background on the Black Sea Grain Initiative
- July 2022: Turkey, with U.N. involvement, brokered a deal allowing Ukraine to export grain and food from Black Sea ports.
- A separate memorandum between the U.N. and Russia aimed to facilitate Moscow’s food and fertilizer exports.
- Russia withdrew from the agreements earlier in the year, citing unmet conditions.
Recent Diplomatic Efforts
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hosted talks with his Turkish counterpart.
- U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres proposed a new plan to revive the deal, which Russia found unsatisfactory.
- Lavrov outlined conditions for resuming Ukrainian grain and fertilizer shipments.
Impact and Importance of the deal
- Ukraine had shipped nearly 33,000 tons of grain, addressing global hunger concerns.
- The meeting between Putin and Erdogan may hold the key to restoring the deal.
Ongoing Drone Attacks
- Russian air defences intercepted drones heading toward several western regions.
- Drones are attributed to Ukraine and are aimed at Russian targets.
- Ukrainian drone attacks have become frequent as the war enters its 19th month.
Satellite Images of Damaged Aircraft
- Suspected Ukrainian drone attacks destroyed at least two Ilyushin Il-76 military transport planes at a Russian air base.
- Princess Olga Pskov International Airport near the Ukrainian border was targeted.
- Il-76 is a key element of Russia’s military airlift capacity.
Ukrainian Weapon Development
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed Ukraine had developed a weapon with a 700-kilometer range, possibly referring to the air base attack.
- Specifics about the weapon were not disclosed.
Escalating Drone Warfare
Iranian-made exploding drones have been used extensively in the ongoing conflict.
- Putin and Erdogan’s meeting holds potential for repairing the Ukrainian grain deal.
- The conflict in Ukraine continues to involve drone attacks, impacting military assets and escalating tensions between the parties.
An Overview of the Black Sea Grain Initiative
- A response to growing food prices and insecurity due to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
- Brokered by the United Nations (UN) and Turkey in July 2022.
- Focus on ensuring exports from key Ukrainian Black Sea ports: Odessa, Chornomorsk, Yuzhny/Pivdennyi.
- Aims to facilitate Russian food and fertilizer exports to global markets.
- Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) established to monitor implementation, hosted in Istanbul.
- Ukrainian vessels guide cargo ships through safe routes, avoiding mined areas, within the agreed maritime humanitarian corridor.
Role of Joint Coordination Centre (JCC)
JCC includes representatives from Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the UN, with the UN serving as the Secretariat.
- Monitor, inspect, and coordinate commercial ships.
- Prevent unauthorized cargo or personnel onboard.
- Schedule and oversee safe passage and loading in Ukrainian ports.
- Ukraine is a major global exporter of wheat, maize, and oilseeds.
- Access to Black Sea ports facilitates trade with Russia, Europe, Middle East, and North Africa.
- Mitigates the global cost of living crisis by ensuring grain supply.
- Prevents hoarding and potential exacerbation of the global food crisis.
- Contributes to stabilizing regional and global food situations.