ukraine russia black sea grain deal

Ukraine lodged a complaint on Tuesday, accusing Russia of effectively excluding the Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi from a crucial agreement that ensured secure grain exports from the Black Sea region.

Concurrently, Russia voiced its grievances, claiming that it had been unable to transport ammonia through a pipeline to Pivdennyi as stipulated in the agreement.

Last July, a Black Sea deal was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to facilitate the wartime export of food and fertilizer from the Ukrainian ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi. The agreement, which was recently extended for an additional two months, aimed to regulate these vital exports.

Concerns were raised on Monday by the United Nations regarding the lack of ships arriving at Pivdennyi since May 2, a development that raised suspicions about Russia’s compliance with the agreement. Ukrainian Deputy Renovation Minister, Yuriy Vaskov, condemned Russia for its “blatant violation” of the accord.

While all ships are subject to inspection by a joint team comprising Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish, and U.N. inspectors, Vaskov revealed that Russian inspectors had refused to assess vessels bound for Pivdennyi since April 29.

In a written statement on Tuesday, Vaskov highlighted Russia’s ability to curtail Ukrainian grain exports significantly by excluding the port of Pivdennyi, which is equipped to handle large tonnage vessels.

Pivdennyi, being the largest port involved in the agreement in terms of throughput, currently stores approximately 1.5 million tonnes of food items earmarked for future export to ten different countries. As per restoration ministry data, 26 ships are scheduled to transport these goods.

Matthew Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, declared on Tuesday that Russia’s actions constituted a “clear violation” of its commitments under the grain deal. He called upon Moscow to “cease holding global food supplies hostage.”

At the time of reporting, there had been no response from the Russian embassy in Washington to Miller’s comments.

Ammonia transport also formed an integral part of the Black Sea agreement. Before the conflict, Russia used the pipeline to transport ammonia to Pivdennyi for export. To renew the Black Sea deal, Russia insisted on a set of demands relating to its own food and fertilizer exports. The revival of the ammonia pipeline was one such requirement, and the United Nations had been working to mediate this issue.

Previously, Russia used to transport up to 2.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually for export through the pipeline from Togliati. Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador, revealed on Tuesday that this quantity of ammonia could yield “7 million tonnes of fertilizers,” which would be sufficient to feed 200 million people.

Nebenzia informed the U.N. Security Council that deliveries of Ukrainian food and Russian ammonia were intended to commence simultaneously but never materialized. He also noted that the global market currently faced a 70% deficit in ammonia due to insufficient volumes.

Reuters reported on Friday that the Ukrainian government would consider allowing Russian ammonia to transit its territory for export if the Black Sea grain deal expanded to include more Ukrainian ports and a wider range of commodities.

Uralchem, Russia’s largest producer of potash and ammonium nitrate, anticipates that the opening of an ammonia export terminal near the Black Sea would diminish the importance of the pipeline passing through Ukraine, according to the company’s CEO.

Although Russian food and fertilizer exports are not subject to Western sanctions, Moscow argues that limitations on payments, logistics, and insurance create obstacles to shipments.


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