fromL Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov, United Nations UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar attend a signature ceremony of an initiative on the safe transportation of grain and foodstuffs from Ukrainian ports, in Istanbul, on Friday, July 22, 2022. As a first major agreement between the warring parties since the invasion, Ukraine and Russia agreed to a deal brokered by the UN and Turkey. PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxHUNxONLY TRK2022072202 GokhanxMert

The control center agreed by Russia and Ukraine to monitor Ukrainian grain exports has officially opened in Istanbul. Turkey believes the center will make a significant contribution to overcoming the food crisis, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said at the opening ceremony in Istanbul on Wednesday.

Preparations are underway for the first ship loaded with grain to leave Ukraine via the Black Sea. Ships are to be checked when passing through the Bosphorus Strait, i.e. when entering and exiting the Black Sea, to ensure that they have no weapons or the like loaded. The coordination center will register the merchant ships and track their movements via satellite, among other things, Akar said.

The center is part of an agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey on Friday in Istanbul to lift the blockade of Ukrainian ports.

According to Akar, the center has been in operation since Saturday. Akar took the fact that Ukraine, Russia and the UN sent representatives just one day after it was signed as a sign of their determination to implement the agreement. Civilians and military personnel worked in the center – five representatives from each party, Akar said.