The Black Sea grain deal that reopened Ukraine’s major ports is set to expire this week as the Kremlin considers a possible extension


Farmer Marin Iliev poses for a picture in his fields near the town of Sadineni in central Bulgaria on April 20, 2023.

Nikolay Dychynov | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Russia has yet to decide whether it will extend the terms of an international accord that guarantees food security for millions of people, and its decision could magnify the fallout of the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine.

By all accounts, the reopening of major ports was brokered in July, which Black Sea Grain InitiativeExpires on 18th May.

Earlier on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “there are still a lot of open questions” about a possible extension of the agreement.

“When the appropriate decision is made, we will inform you, that’s all I can say so far,” Peskov told reporters at a daily press briefing.

Before Russian troops arrive on Ukraine’s borders in February 2022, Kiev and Moscow account for about a quarter of global grain exports. Those shipments were severely halted for nearly six months until representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the United Nations and Turkey agreed to establish a humanitarian sea corridor and reopen three Ukrainian ports.

A ship carrying wheat from Ukraine to Afghanistan after an inspection in the open sea around the Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul, Turkey, January 24, 2023.

Tour Ministry of National Defense | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

More than 950 ships are being carried under the deal over 30.2 million metric tons The vast majority of agricultural products moved through Ukraine’s war-weary ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhny-Pivdny.

in Monday comments More than 55% of that cargo has reached the world’s hungriest countries, said Martin Griffiths, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, before the UN Security Council.

He said the latest analysis by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations indicates that global grain prices have fallen by close to 20% in the past year and international wheat prices fell to their lowest level since July 2021. Are.

‘This is not the deal we agreed to’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks to the media at a news conference at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters on April 25, 2023 in New York City.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Moscow says the current agreement only benefits Kiev because Russian fertilizer exports have not been able to travel the sea corridor the way Ukrainian grain has.

Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov again threatened to leave the accord.

“It was not called a grain deal. It was called the Black Sea Initiative and in the text itself the agreement said that it applied to the expansion of opportunities to export grain and fertilizers,” Lavrov told reporters during the press conference on April 26,

“This is not the deal we agreed to on July 22,” he said, adding that dozens of Russian cargo ships laden with some 200,000 tonnes of fertilizer are docked at European ports.

Therefore, the Kremlin has called for the resumption of Russian ammonia exports via a pipeline through Ukraine to the port of Odessa.

Lavrov also said that one of Moscow’s top demands is for the Russian Agricultural Bank, or Rosselkhozbank, to return to the SWIFT banking system.

Moscow’s exclusion from SWIFTwhich stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, cut the country off from most of the world’s financial networks in the days following the full-scale invasion of Russia.

Source link