According to the Ukrainian side, Russia is delaying the inspection of ships with food; its actions affect food security

Russia’s actions lead to a delay in the work of the Black Sea grain corridor and undermine the Black Sea Grain Initiative as a whole. This is stated in a joint statement published on February 15 by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and Vice Prime Minister for the Restoration of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov.

“Representatives of the Russian Federation as part of the inspection groups at the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul have been systematically delaying the inspection of ships sailing through the Bosphorus to / from Ukrainian ports for several months in a row. In particular, Russian inspectors slow down the time of inspections, regularly demand non-regulated documentation, refuse to work during working hours, and look for other unreasonable reasons to stop inspections. Less than half of the 10 inspections scheduled each day are typically completed,” the statement said.

It emphasizes that the destructive policy of Russia has led to a systematic decrease in cargo turnover within the framework of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

“In the last three months alone, the world has received less than ten million tons of Ukrainian food, and this negative trend is gaining momentum. In connection with the delay in inspections by Russia, a queue of more than 140 ships has now formed in the Bosphorus, the vast majority of which have been waiting there for more than a month,” the Ukrainian side states.

In the actions of Russia, the impact on the food security of the countries of Africa and Asia, dependent on the export of Ukrainian agricultural products, is seen.

“By destroying Ukraine’s port infrastructure, creating security threats to Ukrainian southern regions from the Black Sea, and hindering the operation of the Black Sea Grain Corridor, Moscow is taking advantage of the opportunity for unhindered merchant shipping from Russian Black Sea ports,” the document says.

It also reports that the volume of traffic through Russian seaports in the Azov-Black Sea basin in 2022 amounted to more than 250 million tons, which exceeded the figures for 2021.

Ukrainian diplomats called on the international community, the UN and Turkey, as guarantors of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, to demand that Russia immediately stop artificial delays in the work of the Black Sea grain corridor.

In Russia, they declared the inexpediency of the deal

The Ukrainian press quotes the statement of representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry about the inexpediency of extending the “grain deal”.

According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin, the Kremlin is “dissatisfied” with some aspects of the agreement because it is being implemented unfairly due to sanctions on Russian agricultural exports, TSN reported February 13.

“Without tangible results in the implementation of the Russia-UN memorandum, primarily in the real lifting of sanctions restrictions on Russian agricultural exports, the concept of the Istanbul package agreements and the simple extension of the Ukrainian document are inappropriate,” Vershinin said.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, or, as it is called in the press, the “grain agreement”, “grain deal”, was signed in Istanbul on July 22, 2022 with an automatic renewal every 120 days. Under the terms of the “grain agreement”, a corridor has been organized in the Black Sea for the movement of ships with grain from Ukrainian ports to the Turkish Bosphorus. The Joint Coordinating Center is located in Istanbul, which regulates the work of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Moscow deliberately blocks the export of Ukrainian grain

Denys Marchuk, Deputy Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Agrarian Council , notes that since October 2022, Ukraine has faced artificial problems for grain exports.

“With the banal delay of ships with grain, both at the exit and at the entrance from the Bosphorus, in this case, for ships that go to the ports of Big Odessa,” Marchuk explained to a Voice of America Russian Service correspondent.

The “artificial conditions” that Russia is trying to apply, according to him, are aimed at reducing the export of Ukrainian grain.

“Russia, through its actions, is carrying out food terrorism, especially for those regions that are most dependent on Ukrainian products in Africa and Asia. Why is she doing this? Probably, in order to improve their negotiating capabilities during the war on the territory of Ukraine,” Marchuk emphasizes.

According to him, the Kremlin’s tactics are aimed at promoting its own agricultural grain exports.

“By blocking the Ukrainian “grain deal”, as part of its exports through the Black Sea coast, Russia is exporting both agricultural and metallurgical products. It conducts trade and receives foreign exchange earnings from such operations,” Marchuk notes.

He calls the joint statement of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov a step ahead of the situation.

“This week there was a statement by representatives of Russia that they do not see any point in continuing the grain corridor. They begin to bargain, given that another 120 days expire at the beginning of March for the “grain deal” to work.

The current statement is a message from Turkey and the UN about the need to act together, not to make any compromises to Russia, but to work hard within the framework of the designated agreements,” said the Deputy Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Agrarian Council.

Grain deal: 21 million tons exported

The director of the AAA Consulting Agency, Sergey Nalivka , says that Ukraine has so far exported 21 million tons of grain from the ports of Great Odessa under the “grain agreement” under the “grain agreement”. He also explains the essence of the reasons that may affect the export of Ukrainian grain by sea.

“Russia has introduced new requirements for grain carriers and oil tankers. It looks like sabotage by Moscow officials in the joint commission that makes the deal work. In addition, on average, now it is possible to inspect two and a half ships per day. It’s very slow. And on the other hand, exports are going on,” Sergey Nalivka explained to the correspondent of the Voice of America Russian Service.

He also noted that in addition to the routes within the “grain initiative” from the ports of “Big Odessa”, there is a load of Ukrainian ships in the river ports on the Danube and in Romania.

“We are talking not only about these routes along the Danube and from the ports of Romania, but also about exports from the ports of Poland to European countries. In principle, the situation is much better than expected, no one expected that exports would be so large under such conditions,” says Nalivka.

On stocks of grain for export

General Director of UkrAgroConsult Sergey Feofilov notes that there are many factors that must be taken into account in order to continue the “grain deal”.

“According to the situation that has developed, it is necessary to search for various options to continue the “grain deal”, it is necessary to continue the dialogue with the UN and the Turkish government,” Feofilov is convinced.

According to him, grain reserves that Ukraine can still export are estimated at 16-19 million tons.