The war in Ukraine: the grain export agreement has been extended to the extreme

Added November 17, 2022 10:19 am

Grain importers will be able to breathe a little easier. Russia agreed on Thursday to extend by four months an agreement on grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, after fending off doubts about its intentions. This agreement, which was signed last July under the auspices of Turkey and the UN, was supposed to expire on Friday evening.

The announcement about the extension of the term was first made on Twitter by the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Alexander Kubrakov. “The Black Sea Grain Initiative will be extended by 120 days,” he wrote, hailing “an important step in the fight against the world food crisis.” “The decision has just been made in Istanbul. The United Nations and Turkey will remain guarantors of this initiative,” the ministry said in a statement.

A welcome extension

Later, the information was confirmed by Turkey, which played a decisive role in this case. In the voice of a high-ranking official speaking on the condition of anonymity, Ankara stressed that the agreement was renewed “under the same conditions” as those observed since July.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres immediately welcomed the news: “I welcome the agreement reached by all parties to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative to facilitate the security of grain, food and fertilizer exports from Ukraine.”

More than 11 million tons were released

The extension of this agreement was considered crucial to prevent the worsening of the world food crisis. Russia and Ukraine are indeed two agricultural nations that several countries, especially Africa, depend on for imports. The war initiated by Moscow on February 24 caused the blockade of approximately 20 million tons of wheat and corn in Ukrainian ports.

After weeks of negotiations organized by Turkey, the Black Sea Grains Initiative was signed by all interested parties on July 22. The agreement made it possible to create safe sea corridors from the ports of Odessa, Pivdenny and Chornomorsk. A Joint Coordination Center (JCC) consisting of civilian and military delegations of Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN has been established to control the boats. So far, this initiative has removed more than 11 million tons of grain from Ukrainian ports.

Round trip from Moscow

However, this agreement remains fragile. At the end of October, Russia briefly intervened and caused the price of grain to rise on world markets. Moscow condemned the attack on “Black Sea Navy ships and civilian vessels involved in the security of grain corridors” led by Kyiv and “British experts”. But the country soon returned to the agreement.

However, this speech was interpreted as a reminder that Vladimir Putin can play the card of disrupting the world grain market at any time. A message that has been well received by world leaders since the G20 in Bali, who have urged Moscow to stop disrupting the global food chain.

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