Russia’s termination of agreement triggers warning on Black Sea grain shipments

M Masud Hossain Khan
M Masud Hossain Khan - Editor
6 Min Read
Corn being loaded into a truck at a grain storage facility in Bilohiria, Khmelnytskyi Region, Ukraine, April 19, 2023.

Russia withdraws from wartime grain deal with Ukraine, issues caution on shipments without ‘security Guarantees’

Following Russia’s withdrawal from the wartime grain deal with Ukraine, the Kremlin has issued a cautionary message about shipping grain from Ukrainian Black Sea ports without Russian security guarantees. The warning comes amidst claims that Ukraine utilizes the waters for military activities.

Russia's Black Sea grain deal renewal extended for two months as of May 17.
Black Sea Grain Initiative renewal extended for two months as of May 17. Igor Tkachenko/EPA via EFE

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov delivered the warning, raising the possibility of Turkey stepping in to safeguard Ukrainian grain shipments.

The Black Sea grain deal, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, had been signed by Russia and Ukraine last July to ensure safe transportation of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports (Yuzhny, Odesa, and Chornomorsk) to the Bosporus, free from attacks. This deal also involved a separate agreement to facilitate shipments of Russian food and fertilizers, but Russia alleged that some aspects of the agreement were not implemented.

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As Russia withdrew on Monday, officials stated that their repeated demands to increase Russian grain and fertilizer exports through the pact were not met.

In response to the termination of the deal, Russia’s foreign ministry declared the withdrawal of navigation safety guarantees, the suspension of the maritime humanitarian corridor, and the re-establishment of the regime of a temporarily dangerous area in the northwestern Black Sea.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed determination to continue utilizing the Black Sea corridor, even in the absence of Russian involvement. He revealed that shipping companies with ready ships had approached Ukraine, willing to continue grain supply.

Ensuring Quality: Port Worker Inspects Ukrainian Cereal Train Carriage at Constanta, Romania's Black Sea Port, May 11, 2022.
Ensuring Quality: Port Worker Inspects Ukrainian Cereal Train Carriage at Constanta, Romania’s Black Sea Port, May 11, 2022. © Olimpiu Gheorghiu, Reuters

President Zelenskyy engaged in discussions with UN chief Antonio Guterres to explore options for restoring grain supply through the Black Sea routes.

The international community condemned Moscow’s decision, fearing its impact on global food security and anticipating an increase in food prices. UN chief Antonio Guterres warned that hundreds of millions of people could face hunger, while consumers would grapple with a global cost-of-living crisis.

However, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov refuted the criticisms, emphasizing that Moscow would still provide grain to needy countries.

An analysis of the News:

The news article highlights a significant development regarding the Black Sea grain initiative involving Russia and Ukraine. The key points can be summarized as follows:

  1. Termination of Wartime Grain Deal: Russia’s decision to pull out of the wartime grain deal with Ukraine on Monday has raised concerns about the future of grain shipments from Ukrainian Black Sea ports. This move has sparked renewed tensions between the two countries and is likely to have implications for food security in the region.
  2. Caution Against Shipments Without Security Guarantees: Following the withdrawal, the Kremlin has cautioned against grain shipments from Ukrainian Black Sea ports without Russian security guarantees. Russia has claimed that Ukraine uses these waters for military activities, leading to concerns about the safety of shipments.
  3. Turkey’s Potential Role: With Russia’s withdrawal, there are suggestions that Turkey might step in to protect Ukrainian grain shipments. The involvement of Turkey, a regional power, could influence the dynamics of the grain trade and geopolitical situation in the Black Sea region.
  4. Unmet Demands on Russian Grain and Fertilizer Exports: Russian officials have cited unmet demands to increase grain and fertilizer exports through the agreement as a reason for the termination. This indicates underlying economic and trade issues between Russia and Ukraine that have not been resolved through the Black Sea grain deal.
  5. Impact on Global Food Security: The withdrawal of Russia from the grain deal has drawn international condemnation, with world leaders expressing concerns about its potential impact on global food security. The situation could lead to higher food prices and exacerbate existing food crises in vulnerable regions.
  6. Efforts to Continue Grain Supply: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy remains determined to continue utilizing the Black Sea corridor for grain supply, even in the absence of Russia’s involvement. He is actively engaging with the UN chief and exploring options to restore grain supply through Black Sea routes.
  7. Moscow’s Pledge to Aid Needy Countries: Despite criticism, Russia’s foreign ministry has stated that Moscow will continue to supply grain to poor countries in need. This pledge could be seen as an attempt to mitigate the humanitarian impact of their withdrawal from the grain deal.

In conclusion, the news article indicates a complex situation surrounding the Black Sea grain initiative. The termination of the deal by Russia has significant implications for food security, trade relations, and regional stability. It underscores the importance of finding diplomatic solutions to resolve disputes and ensure the smooth flow of essential commodities like grain. The involvement of other nations, such as Turkey, and the determination of Ukraine to continue grain supply are factors to watch as the situation unfolds in the coming months.

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Mr M Masud Hossain Khan is the Editor-in-Chief of the Star Avis, a global news and articles portal in English language with options for reading in a few other popular languages, a student of economics at Concordia University, Canada, and a Development Consultant with expertise in socioeconomic and rights issues having long work experience in developing countries, especially South Asia in Bangladesh.
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