Russia and Ukraine on Friday signed separate agreements with Turkey and the UN, paving the way for the export of millions of tons of desperately needed Ukrainian grain – as well as Russian grain and fertilizer – ending a wartime stalemate that had threatened food security around the world. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov signed separate agreements with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres attend two representatives of the Ukrainian and Russian delegations during a signing ceremony at Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, on 22 July 2022. (AP)

The ceremony took place in the presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “Today there is a lighthouse on the Black Sea,” said António Guterres. “A glimmer of hope, a glimmer of possibility, a glimmer of relief in a world that needs it more than ever.” “You have overcome obstacles and put aside differences to pave the way for an initiative that will serve the common interests of all,” he said, addressing the Russian and Ukrainian representatives.