Last Ship Departs Ukraine, Leaving The Fate Of Black Sea Grain Deal In Russia’s Hands

On Wednesday, the last vessel departed from a port in Ukraine following a deal that enables the safe and secure Black Sea export of Ukrainian grains a day before Russia may quit the deal due to obstacles to its fertilizer and grain exports.

The DSM Capella has reportedly set sail from the port of Chornomorsk loaded with 30,000 tons of corn and set sail to Turkey, per data shared by the UN.

The UN and Turkey had brokered the Black Sea agreement for the initial 120 days in July 2022 to tackle a worldwide food crisis that has been severely aggravated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, one of the leading grain exporters in the world.

Black Sea Grain Deal
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Moscow extended the Black Sea deal for an additional 120 days in November. Still, in March, it agreed on a 60-day extension — until 18 May — unless a list of demands associated with its agricultural exports was met.

To fully convince Russia in July 2023 to permit Black Sea grain exports, the UN agreed at the same time to help out Moscow with agricultural shipments for up to three years.

There are a lot of open questions regarding Russia’s part of the deal. It is time for a decision, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, informed the reporters on Tuesday, per Russian media.

Senior officials from Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the U.N. gathered in Istanbul last week to discuss the Black Sea deal elaborately. On Tuesday, Stephane Dujarric, the U.N. spokesman, said that the contacts are being established on various levels. The situation is in a delicate phase.

Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, stated last week that he thought this deal could be extended for two more months at least.

While Russia’s exports of fertilizer and food are not subject to Western sanctions levied after the February 2022 invasion of Russia on Ukraine, Moscow says the limitations on payments, insurance, and logistics have resulted in a barrier to shipments.

The US has denied Russia’s complaints. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., said last week that it has been exporting fertilizers and grains at the same levels, if not higher, than the earlier full-blown invasion.

References: Hindustan Times, Reuters

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