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Black Sea grain shipments center to open in İstanbul

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The United Nations and Turkey will open a joint center with Russia and Ukraine in İstanbul on Wednesday to coordinate the resumption of grain deliveries across the Black Sea, Agence France-Presse reported.

Turkey’s defense ministry said on Tuesday that the center will be officially opened at a ceremony attended by Turkish Defense Minster Hulusi Akar.

Russia’s TASS state news agency said a Russian defense delegation had flown to İstanbul for the ceremony.

The joint command and control center was agreed as part of a landmark deal signed by the warring parties with the UN and Turkey in İstanbul on Friday.

Ukrainian officials said on Monday they hoped to send their first ships full of grain since Russia’s February invasion later this week.

The blockage of deliveries from two of the world’s biggest grain exporters has contributed to a spike in prices that has made food imports prohibitively expensive for some of the world’s poorest countries.

UN estimates say nearly 50 million people have begun to face “acute hunger” around the world as a direct consequence of the war.

Wheat prices fell sharply hours after the grain deal was signed.

But a Russian missile strike on Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odessa on Saturday put the agreement under renewed doubt.

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