Report # 111. More details about the Istanbul deal

July 27, 2022

1. A personal comment on the Istanbul deal

On July 22, in Istanbul, representatives of the UN, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine signed an agreement on lifting restrictions on the supply of Russian products for export and facilitating the export of Ukrainian grain and a number of other agricultural food products, such as sunflower oil.

A three-month period of validity of the agreements has been determined with the possibility of its subsequent extension. The signing of this document finally removes the baseless accusations made by the West of Moscow in the alleged blockade of the Black Sea seaports. The Russian side has never mined Ukrainian seaports to block the supply of Ukrainian agricultural products to other countries or for any other purposes.

President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stressed that Russia does not prevent the export of Ukrainian grain and if Ukraine itself mined its seaports, which it actually did, and not Russia, then any ships with food will be able to leave there unhindered after Kiev issues the order to demine Ukrainian seaports.

So, it is namely Kiev that itself has created numerous obstacles to grain exports, such as mining the Black Sea, setting fire to wheat stocks in the port of Mariupol, and also setting fire to fields sown with wheat in the Donbass not controlled by Kiev.

Commenting on the agreements reached, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu noted that the document assumes the involvement of the UNO in lifting restrictions on the export of agricultural products and fertilizers to world markets, and also regulates the export of Ukrainian grain through three seaports in the Black Sea controlled by Kiev – Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny. In addition, the agreement provides for the creation of a Quadrilateral Coordination Center under the auspices of the UNO, the removal of mines from Ukrainian territorial waters by Ukraine, and also regulates the procedure for coordinating, conducting, ensuring security and controlling the procedure for the export of grain and other agricultural products from Ukraine.

On the day of signing the Istanbul agreements, a number of high-ranking officials of European states noted that the deal would help to stabilize world food prices and was even intended to be the first step towards ending the war in Ukraine. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in an interview with a BBC correspondent, said that this is probably the most important thing he has done during his leadership of this international organization.

The representative of the U.S. State Department, Ned Price, confirmed live on the CNN that the White House welcomes this agreement. ABC published the position of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who played a significant role in the negotiations, who expressed hope that the deal would be a turning point in the war and called on both sides of the conflict to resume peace talks.

Despite the positive reaction of the world community and the opportunity to sell Ukrainian grain, which, by the way, does not exceed one percent of overall global grain production, representatives of the Kiev regime continued to call for condemnation of the Russian Federation and the need to bring it to justice.

But literally the next day after the signing of the package of Istanbul documents, the AFU intensified its subversive activities aimed at disrupting the Istanbul agreements of July 22: on July 23, the Ukrainian Armed Forces launched a missile attack on the Odessa seaport, which it controls, blaming Russia for this.

But Russia did not launch a missile attack on the Odessa seaport. It is easy to verify this on the basis of objective control data possessed by the U.S. Space Force, as well as the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

On July 23, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation did launch a missile attack, but not on the Odessa seaport, but on the territory of the Odessa Ship Repair Plant. As a result, the production facilities of this enterprise used for the repair and modernization of the Naval Forces of Ukraine were put out of operation and the warehouse of Harpoon anti-ship missiles delivered from the United States located there was destroyed. That is, a blow was actually struck at a military facility of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. But not a civilian merchant seaport located too far away from the Odessa Ship Repair Plant. The strike incapacitated the enterprise’s production capacities for the repair and upgrade of the Ukrainian Navy’s ships, the Russian MoD added.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the strike against the Odessa port’s military sites could not and would not affect the commencement of grain shipments in accordance with the Istanbul deals.

Vladimir Zelensky, despite the available video recordings of the results of the strike, was not slow to throw in a false message about the destruction of the alleged elevator and concluded that this attack "destroyed the very possibility" of dialogue with Moscow. His propaganda stunt was supported by U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrel, German and British Foreign Ministers Annalena Berbock and Liz Truss.

That is, all these persons displayed their complete incompetence and unprofessionalism. They didn't even bother to instruct their subordinates to check the information: who, where and when launched the missile strike. Although it is well known that these two facilities – Ship Repair Plant and Elevator – have different functional features and are separated from each other at a considerable distance. The Ukrainian president also deceived his Western curators, who simply have been obliged to listen his newly-invented lie.

So, thanks to Russia's and Turkey’s constructive position, the "Istanbul deal" on leveling “the threat of freezing Ukrainian grain export” was concluded.

But before its implementation, Ukraine itself must fully demine its three ports – Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny, intentionally mined by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Kiev should also not prevent to inspect its merchant ships sailing from these three seaports and to returning to them.

Istanbul expecting first ships to depart within days, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister confirmed. Turkish officials estimate grain exports from Ukraine, as agreed under last week’s Ankara- and UN-brokered deal between Moscow and Kiev, will start this week, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced on July 27.

“Based upon statements by our colleagues from Turkey where the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) is located, they expect exports from Ukraine to start in the coming days,” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko told reporters. He added, however, that, for its part, Moscow was hoping for the best, but could not rule out the deal crumbling. “We always hope for the best and expect that our partners will also implement two components of the grain deal – [that] concerning the export of grain from Ukraine, and [that] regarding the removal of restrictions on the export of Russian grain in general,” the official elaborated.

Highly likely, that Kiev can invent one more provocation aimed at blaming Russia for violating of the Istanbul deal or declare to refuse to inspect Ukrainian merchant ships in the Black Sea by international teams created during relevant Istanbul talks. One more option cannot be excluded, like Kiev’s delays in demining the sea areas close to three seaports in Ukraine mentioned in the accord reached on July 22.

2. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement on the Istanbul deal (Moscow, July 22, 2022)

A ceremony for the simultaneous signing of two documents on maritime shipping of Ukrainian grain and the export of Russian agricultural products – Initiatives for the safe transportation of grain and food from the ports of Ukraine and Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Federation and the UN Secretariat on assisting the promotion of Russian food and fertilisers to international markets, respectively – was held in Istanbul on July 22.

Initially, both documents were part of the UN Secretary-General’s “package” initiative, which President Putin supported. However, during the course of the talks, Kiev made several attempts to sabotage the bundled approach to the agreement proposed by Antonio Guterres. Interestingly, the negotiators from the UN Secretariat promoted a position that did not quite align with the Secretary-General’s original initiative.

Be that as it may, due to the Russian delegation’s efforts, it was possible to maintain the comprehensive and depoliticised nature of the “package” agreement, thereby ensuring the maximum possible effort to meet the developing countries that are food importers halfway.

Russia will honour its commitments in this regard. The fact that the United States and its allies are using “food issues” in the interests of their geopolitical adventures is unacceptable and inhumane.

The Memorandum of Understanding on Russian exports of agricultural products was signed by First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The main goal is to ensure transparent and unhindered shipments of Russian food and fertilisers, including the raw materials for their production, to international markets. In particular, this issue is about removing the obstacles that the USA and the EU have created in finance, insurance and logistics and exempting these particular products from the restrictive measures imposed on Russia.

The memorandum will remain valid for three years.

Russia, Turkey and Ukraine are the parties to the Ukrainian Grain Transport Initiative, with the United Nations acting in a support role. The goal is to promote safe shipping for grain, food and fertiliser exports, including ammonia, from the ports of Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny. The document provides a procedure for the passage of ships, their inspection, monitoring the functioning of the humanitarian corridor, the modality of demining and preventing dangerous incidents by the Istanbul-based special Joint Coordination Centre with representatives from Russia, Ukraine and Turkey and with support from the UNO.

The initiative is to run for 120 days with an option to renew for a similar period upon agreement of the parties.

It is gratifying to know that Washington and Brussels have stopped obstructing the efforts to achieve today’s agreements. The signing of the Russia-UN memorandum reiterated the absolutely artificial nature of the West’s attempts to shift the blame for the problems in supplying grain to international markets on Russia.

We hope the necessary efforts will be made to effectively implement these agreements soon. The UN assistance that is provided in good faith and the constructive approach of the international community, including the Western countries, will be instrumental in this. Given the significant share of Russian and Ukrainian agricultural products in international markets, ensuring uninterrupted shipping meets the pressing objectives of maintaining food security, especially for the developing and least developed countries. All of that should contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including the eradication of hunger.

In closing, I would like to once again thank our Turkish partners, and personally President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for their contribution to today’s results.

3. Advance team of Russian experts arrived in Istanbul

Quadrilateral Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul has started its work in accordance with the provisions of the comprehensive package deal signed on July 22, 2022 in the same city between Russia, Turkey and Ukraine with the UNO assistance and support.

The Russian delegation is headed by Rear Admiral Eduard Lujk.

The main task of the Russian experts in the JCC is to promptly resolve all necessary issues to bring the respective initiative to the stage of practical implementation.

The activities of the Russian representatives in the JCC are under special control of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation.

4. The USA intends to send more HIMARS to Kiev: Moscow’s response

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov discussed military aid to Ukraine in a recent phone conversation, including additional supplies of HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, the Pentagon said on July 26.

"Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III spoke with Ukrainian Minister of Defence Oleksii Reznikov today to discuss the outcomes of the recent Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting and ongoing security assistance to Ukraine, to include the recent U.S. commitment of additional High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS)," Acting Pentagon Press Secretary Todd Breasseale said in a statement.

Austin reassured Reznikov that the United States was moving as quickly as possible to deliver equipment to Ukraine, the statement says.

Chief of the Ukrainian presidential office Andrey Yermak said on July 24 that US congressmen pledged to provide up to 30 HIMARS systems and munitions.

Initial reaction of Moscow to this announcement was rather tough.

The use by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) against the Russian territory of American MLRS or other long-range NATO guns will lead to more than serious consequences. This was stated on Wednesday by the head of the Russian delegation at the talks in Vienna on military security and arms control Konstantin Gavrilov.

"Colleagues, do not let the overseas hosts blunt your vigilance: if the APU uses American MLRS or other NATO long-range guns against Russian territory, the consequences will be more than serious," he said at a meeting of the OSCE forum on security cooperation.

"Under these conditions, we will push the neo-Nazis away from our borders in proportion to the range of the missile systems used by Kiev. And then we'll see," the diplomat concluded.

Gavrilov also stated that pushing Europe to aggravate relations with Russia could expand the conflict zone. "Washington is pushing European satellites to cooperate closely with Kiev and aggravate relations with Moscow, forcing them to train Ukrainian soldiers and use their territory as a transit zone for arms supplies. These actions may lead to the expansion of the zone of armed conflict," he said.

5. Turkey: Russia wants to get the same drones used by Ukraine

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has revealed that both Russia and the United Arab Emirates are interested in cooperating with Baykar, the company producing the Bayraktar and Akinci strike drones.

The aircraft have been praised for their effectiveness on the battlefield, and have been used by Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.

Multiple media outlets in Turkey reported the story July 27, citing Erdogan’s remarks at a meeting of top AK party officials the previous. The revelation has caused a stir, since Baykar has exported about 50 drones to Ukraine just this year.

The UAE offered to build a Baykar factory, while Russian President Vladimir Putin said “let’s work together,” Erdogan told the party officials on July 26, according to CNN Turk. The reporting was echoed by other outlets, such as TGRT and Haber 7.

No more details were on offer, except that Putin’s alleged proposal came during last week’s meeting in Tehran, where he and Erdogan met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to discuss the peace process in Syria and other matters.

6. Developments on the battlefields

Armed Forces of Ukraine continued to shell heavily Donetsk and some other cities in the DPR (total 11 settlements), and the city of Kherson that does not want to stay within a failed and ultra-Nazi state named Ukraine capable to create fake stories and unable to run the state affairs, economy and finance properly. On July 26 AFU fired 316 munitions against the DPR. Five 122-mm shells were fired, the DPR mission to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination said.

By now 130 children in Donbass have been killed by Ukrainian criminals.

AFU once again attacked Antonovsky bridge across the Dnieper near Kherson by using U.S. MLRS HIMARS supplied by President Biden to his counterpart Zelensky. The bridge was slightly damaged, but not destroyed. It has never been used by Russian troops. It has been used for civilian purposes. Kiev knows it for sure.

About 34,000 war crimes committed by Ukrainian security forces recorded in the DPR since 2014 by a Special Commission, said Natalya Nikonorova, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPR.

The LPR does not rule out that missiles with a range of 300 km were brought to Ukraine, but the Armed Forces of Ukraine are waiting for the U.S. order to use them as assistant to the head of the LPR Ministry of Internal Affairs put it.

Russian Defence Ministry reported on the progress of the special military operation in Ukraine on July 26 and 27.

On July 26 high-precision air-based missiles struck temporary deployment point of Foreign Legion units near Kostantinovka, Donetsk People's Republic and destroyed over 40 foreign mercenaries, most of them Poles.

As a result of high-precision weaponry strikes by the Russian Aerospace Forces near Nikolaev, 1 artillery battalion of 59th AFU Motorized Infantry Brigade has been eliminated with more than 70 per cent of its personnel and weapons losses.

As a result of operational-tactical aviation of the Russian Aerospace Forces strike on battalion combat positions of 72nd Mechanized Brigade of AFU in Zaitsevo of Donetsk People's Republic, over 70 nationalists and 1 ammunition depot have been destroyed.

Operational-tactical and army aviation, missile troops and artillery strikes continue against military facilities in Ukraine.

During the day, 8 command posts have been destroyed, including units of 14th Mechanized Brigade near Sol', Donetsk People's Republic, 28th Mechanized and 79th Airborne Assault Brigades near Nikolaev, and 61st Infantry Brigade near Polygon in Nikolaev Region.

1 OSA-AKM anti-aircraft missile launcher near Bereznevatoye, Nikolaev Region, one US-made AN/TPQ-37 counter-battery radar near Yagodnoye, Donetsk People's Republic, and 8 ammunition depots near Kulbakino, Yavkino, Bakhmutskoye, Yakovlevka and Zaitsevo, Donetsk People's Republic.

Within counter-battery warfare 1 battery of Uragan multiple-launch rocket systems, 1 Giatsint-B howitzer artillery battery have been suppressed near Dzerzhinsk, Donetsk People's Republic, as well as 6 platoons of Grad multiple-launch rocket systems near Shirokoye, Bereznevatoye, Nikolaev Region, Ternovatoye, Yulievka, Zaporozhye Region, Paraskovievka, Krasnoye, Donetsk People's Republic.

In addition, 4 artillery platoons of D-20 howitzers, 7 platoons of Gvozdika self-propelled artillery units and 9 platoons of D-30 guns at firing positions in Seversk, Dzerzhinsk, Georhievka, Vodyanoye, Razdolnoye, Pereyezdnoye, Podgornoye, Severnoye, Donetsk People's Republic, Pershe Travnya, Dnipropetrovsk Region, Novopavlovka, Zatishye, Zaporozhye Region, Visunsk, Kalinovka, Nikolaev Region, Pyatigorskoye, Skripai and Petrovka, Kharkov Region.

Russian air defence systems have shot down 2 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles near Dmitrovka, Kharkov Region, and Vavilovo, Nikolaev Region.

By July 26 in total, 260 Ukrainian airplanes and 144 helicopters, 1,613 unmanned aerial vehicles, 358 anti-aircraft missile systems, 4,162 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 763 multiple launch rocket systems, 3,201 field artillery and mortars, as well as 4,481 special military vehicles were destroyed during the Special Military Operation (SMO)

The Uglegorsk thermal power plant has been completely liberated from units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, spokesman for the LPR People’s Militia Ivan Filiponenko said on July 27. "The Uglegorsk thermal power plant, which remained under the control of the Ukrainian Armed Forces after the liberation of Svetlodarsk, from where they were shelling the city, has come fully under our control, enemy units have been destroyed there," the spokesman told the Rossiya-1 TV channel.

According to Filiponenko, the power plant itself was seriously damaged. "As they were withdrawing, the enemy spared no effort, no ammunition to destroy the infrastructure of the power plant," he added.

The spokesman for the People's Militia also clarified that the enemy has now been pushed back from the town of Svetlodarsk. "And people are already much safer than they were, let us say, three days ago," he summed up.

On July 27, high-precision weapons of the Russian Aerospace Forces have destroyed temporary deployment points of 28th Mechanized Brigade and 79th Airborne Assault Brigade of AFU in Nikolaev on the territory of former factory of reinforced concrete products and Nikolaevstroytrans motor transport company. The enemy suffered losses of up to 200 servicemen and more than 20 armoured vehicles and specialised vehicles.

One company of 10th Mountain Assault Brigade of AFU has been completely destroyed as a result of shelling near Artemovsk. In addition, 53rd AFU Mechanized Brigade near Novomikhailovka, Donetsk People's Republic has effectively lost its combat effectiveness as a result of the destruction of a command post by high-precision strike.

Russian Aerospace Forces on July 24 destroyed more than 100 rockets for US-made HIMARS multiple-launch rocket system near Lyubimovka, Dnepropetrovsk Region, according to updated reports. Up to 120 servicemen of the military guarding the site have been eliminated, along with foreign mercenaries and technicians.

Operational-tactical and army aviation, missile troops and artillery strikes continue against military facilities in Ukraine.

During the day, 4 command and control posts of battalions of 54th Mechanized and 17th Tank Brigades, 107th Territorial Defence Brigade near Novomikhailovka, Zaitsevo and Seversk, Donetsk People's Republic, as well as 65th Mechanized Brigade of AFU near Malye Shcherbaki, Zaporozhye Region have been destroyed.

142 areas of manpower and military equipment concentration have been hit including foreign mercenaries at temporary deployment point at Ukrainian Energy Machines plant in Kharkov, as well as militants of Black Hundred formation near Artemovsk, Donetsk People's Republic.

8 ammunition depots have also been destroyed near Mayorsk and Seversk, Donetsk People's Republic, Novoandreevka, Malye Shcherbaki and Stepovoye, Zaporozhye Region and Kul'bakino, Nikolaev Region.

Within counter-battery warfare, 1 battery of Uragan multiple-launch rocket systems and Giatsint-B howitzer artillery battery near Dzerzhinsk, 1 battery of Grad MLRS near Bylbasovka, 2 platoons of Msta-B howitzer and 5 platoons of D-30 guns at firing positions near Otradovka, Dzerzhinsk, Novgorodskoye, Vodyanoye, Konstantinovka, Kurakhovo and Georgievka in Donetsk People's Republic have been destroyed.

Russian air defence means have shot down 1 Mi-8 helicopter of Ukrainian air force near Barmashovo, Nikolaev Region.

Also, 9 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles have been shot down near Petrovskoye, Novomayorskoye in Donetsk People's Republic, Barabashovka, Mykhailovka, Petropavlovka, Kamenka in Kharkov Region and Kuz'mino in Lugansk People's Republic.

In addition, 10 rockets of multiple-launch rocket systems Olha and HIMARS have been intercepted over Antonovka and Brilevka in Kherson Region, as well as Kherson city.

By July 27 in total, 260 Ukrainian airplanes and 145 helicopters, 1,622 unmanned aerial vehicles, 358 anti-aircraft missile systems, 4,167 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 763 multiple launch rocket systems, 3,203 field artillery and mortars, as well as 4,494 special military vehicles were destroyed during the SMO

Written by Vladimir P. Kozin


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