The wheat to be purchased from Russia within the scope of the grain corridor will be processed in Türkiye and sent to underdeveloped countries, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Vahit Kirişci has said.
“The president [Recep Tayyip Erdoğan] wishes to give the wheat we bought for free as bulgur and flour for free,” Kirişçi told reporters on Nov. 8 after the cabinet meeting.
“We have an idle capacity in this regard. For example, in the flour, pasta, semolina and bulgur industry,” the minister said. “After processing the free wheat from Russia in our own factories, we will send it to the least developed countries.”
Erdoğan said on Nov. 4 he and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on the priority of delivering grain and fertilizers to the least developed countries, and they will raise the issue at the upcoming in G-20 Summit in Indonesia’s Bali.
Meanwhile, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said at a news conference in the Ukrainian capital Kiev that “Ukraine has long been a breadbasket for much of the developing world, but Russia’s invasion turned Ukraine’s rolling wheat fields into battlefields, and Russian forces have deliberately attacked so much of Ukraine’s agricultural infrastructure.”
Thomas-Greenfield said she told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that food security is “a personal priority” at a meeting where she also reiterated the United States’ steadfast support for Ukraine for as long as it takes.
“This [war] really has had an impact on the entire global food market,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
She said at the news conference that the Russians “have spoiled fields, they’ve bombed grain silos, and literally stolen tractors.”
“These are not only horrific attacks on civilian infrastructure, they are also attacks on the world’s food supply, and they have exacerbated the worst food security crisis any of us have ever seen,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Andrey Rudenko, said that the Kremlin has not yet decided whether to extend its agreement with Türkiye and the U.N.
“We still have time. We are looking at how this deal is being implemented, following the restoration of our participation,” Rudenko said. “We are very dissatisfied with how the Russian part is being implemented.”
Russia briefly suspended its participation in the deal last week, alleging a Ukrainian drone attack on its Black Sea fleet in Crimea on Oct. 29. Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the attack.
Russia and Ukraine signed separate agreements on July 22 for a Black Sea corridor that cleared the way for the export of grain out of three Ukrainian ports, as well as for shipments of Russian grain and fertilizer. The deal, which established an inspection and monitoring system, will expire Nov. 19 unless it is renewed.
Russia’s U.N. representatives said last month that a renewed agreement must allow for increased Russian exports of food and fertilizer. Although international sanctions did not target those goods, shipping and insurance companies have been reluctant to deal with Russia following its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
Rudenko said Moscow “has not yet seen progress” in the implementation of the deal’s provisions regarding Russian food and fertilizer.