The Joint Coordination Centre (JCC), established as part of a landmark deal to resume grain exports from Ukraine, has started work in Istanbul, Russia’s defense ministry said on Tuesday.
The center will be officially opened in a ceremony on Wednesday, Turkiye’s Defense Ministry said separately on Tuesday.
Ukraine, Russia, Turkiye and the United Nations signed the accord last week to resume Ukraine’s grain exports, which had stalled after Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of its neighbor, in a move hailed as a major step toward averting a global food crisis.
All parties will appoint representatives at the JCC to monitor the implementation of the plan.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar will attend the center’s opening ceremony that will be held at the National Defense University in Istanbul, the statement said.
The Russian delegation to the JCC will arrive in Istanbul on Tuesday and begin work in a four-way format, alongside Turkiye, Ukraine and the U.N., the Russian ministry said in a statement posted on social media.
The grain deal was almost immediately thrown into jeopardy after Russia fired cruise missiles on the port of Odessa, Ukraine’s largest, on Saturday morning, just 12 hours after the signing ceremony in Istanbul.
But both Moscow and Kyiv have said they will try to push forward with the agreement – the first major diplomatic breakthrough in the conflict now in its sixth month.
Ukraine and Russia accounted for around a third of global wheat exports before Russia’s invasion.
The Russian delegation to the JCC will be headed by Rear Adm. Eduard Luik, Moscow said.
“The main task of Russian specialists in the JCC will be the prompt resolution of all necessary issues for the initiative to enter the stage of practical implementation,” the Russian defense ministry said.
The Kremlin on Monday called for the U.N. to secure the removal of curbs on Russian fertilizer and grain exports as part of the deal, saying it was still too early to say whether the agreement would be a success.