15:23 01 Jun 2023

Russia once again jeopardizes food security by blocking Ukrainian grain export

Russia blocked the registration of the incoming fleet to all ports of Ukraine. Because of this, the Black Sea Grain Initiative was stopped again, which allowed the safe transportation of grain and foodstuffs from Ukrainian ports amid Russia's war.

The Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine said the joint coordination center in Istanbul, which is supposed to monitor the transportation of goods from the ports of Ukraine, informed that it could not draw up an inspection plan for June 1 because Russia unjustifiably refuses to register the incoming fleet, Rubryka reports.

Over the course of two days — May 30 and 31 — Russia, without explanation, registered only one (!) incoming vessel for inspection at the Chornomorsk port when other parties to the center confirmed ten ships for three ports to participate in the Black Sea Initiative.

Currently, 50 ships are waiting for inspection in the territorial waters of Turkey, and the loading of 2.4 million tons of food for world export. This is almost double the amount that was exported in May.

Some vessels are waiting more than three months for inspection. The Ministry of Infrastructure notes that this is more than $1 billion in losses, which affect the final cost of food for the world.

Blocking the registration of the new incoming fleet and blocking the largest port, Pivdennyi is a gross violation of the terms of the grain initiative under which Russia signed. The Ukrainian delegation sent a letter to the Secretariat of the Joint Coordination Center demanding to resume full-fledged work as part of 3 inspection teams andnine9 inspections per day, as required by procedures.

According to the Ministry, over 30.5 million tons of products from Ukrainian farmers were exported during ten months of the grain initiative. Due to sabotage by the Russian party, which has been going on forseven7 months, the world has not received at least 20 million tons of food.


What do partners do? According to Reuters, the UN has suggested that Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey begin preparatory work for the transit of Russian ammonia through Ukraine to save the agreement on grain export by sea.

At the beginning of the preparatory work, the UN wants to conduct parallel negotiations on expanding the grain agreement to include more Ukrainian ports and other goods.

"The [UN] Secretary-General has put forward some ideas to the parties to improve the facilitation of the Joint Coordination Center, as well as work on the issue of ammonia exports, which is part of the agreement that has been signed. Talks and contacts are ongoing. That's all I can say now," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a Reuters comment.

Last year, the UN tried to agree with Ukraine and Russia on restoring the Tolyatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline, which was stopped after February 24. Ammonia is the main ingredient in the production of nitrate fertilizers. According to the research company ICIS, Russia provided 20% of its global maritime supplies before the full-scale invasion.

In 2022, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, said that he would support the idea of resuming the export of Russian ammonia through Ukraine only if the Kremlin returned all Ukrainian prisoners of war. Russia also wants to use the grain agreement in its interests to unlock its foreign assets.

According to the calculations of the Ukrainian Grain Association, since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion, the Russian occupying forces have stolen about 4 million tons of grain from Ukraine.


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