The granary can continue to deliver – Russia and Ukraine extend grain agreements

The granary can continue to deliver – Russia and Ukraine extend grain agreements
Cargo ship with grain

Ukraine and Russia are important suppliers of food.

(Photo: dpa)

Geneva A decision has been made in the war of nerves between Russia and Ukraine over the Black Sea Grains Initiative: “The Black Sea Grains Initiative, which was signed in Istanbul on July 22, 2022, has been extended,” said UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric Saturday in New York with. However, he left open how many days the deal will be extended. The Ukrainian government announced that it would be 120 days.

The Russian government under President Vladimir Putin opposed a new 120-day period for the agreement, which is so important for the global economy. The Russian ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebensya, insisted on Friday that Moscow would agree to a new deadline of just “60 days”. It was initially unclear which period of time now applies, 120 days or 60 days.

So far, the grain agreement was valid for 120 days, it would have expired on Saturday. Russia, Ukraine and the Secretary General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development, Rebeca Grynspan, and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths have been haggling over the extension in recent days. Turkey also got involved.

It is based on two interconnected agreements that the warring countries agreed on in July 2022. The first is the Black Sea Grains Initiative. It aims to allow Ukrainian grain, fertilizers and other food products to be safely exported from certain Black Sea ports while Russia’s war of aggression rages on. The second agreement between the United Nations and Moscow aims to ensure unhindered access for Russian food and fertilizer exports to world markets.

Ukraine and Russia were among the world’s top agricultural exporters before the Russian war of aggression began on February 24, 2022. After the Kremlin troops invaded the neighboring country, they blocked the Ukrainian export of agricultural goods across the Black Sea and triggered skyrocketing prices: people around the world felt the rise in prices and the lack of deliveries from the granary of Ukraine.

For the UN, it’s about its reputation

In fact, the Black Sea Grains Initiative then paved the way for 25 million tons of grain and other agricultural commodities to be shipped across the Black Sea. According to the UN, 55 percent of exports went to developing countries. “UN support for the Istanbul accords is part of the global response to the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

>> Read here: The Black Sea becomes the scene of geopolitical power struggles

For the UN, it is also about the reputation: apart from the two agreements, the world organization has hardly been able to contribute to mitigating the global consequences of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Not to mention a solution to the conflict mediated by the UN.

Russia’s, on the other hand, keeps saying it suffers serious disadvantages from the deal. While Ukraine’s exports were in full swing, the UN agreement with Russia was “not implemented in the slightest,” complained Vasily Nebensia, Moscow’s ambassador to the UN. Russian exports would be indirectly hampered by Western sanctions. For example, insurance hurdles stand in the way of the Russians, they are cut off from payment transactions or seaports do not allow their ships to enter.

In order to improve the situation for Russia, Nebenzya issued an ultimatum to the USA, the EU and Great Britain. If the West wants the Black Sea Grain Initiative to continue in the future, it must free all companies exporting Russian agricultural products from sanctions within “two months”. The tug-of-war over an extension of the Black Sea Grains Initiative is likely to repeat itself after the current timeframe is over.

Read more: The laborious export of the Ukrainian grain


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