Ukraine and Russia Extend Black Sea Grain Deal, Ensuring Global Food Security


Kyiv - In a move celebrated by the international community, Ukraine and Russia have agreed to extend the Ukraine Black Sea grain deal for an additional two months. This development comes just a day before Russia had the option to withdraw from the agreement due to obstacles it faced regarding its grain and fertilizer exports. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced the extension in a televised speech, which was later confirmed by Russia, Ukraine, and the United Nations.

The Black Sea grain deal, initially brokered by the United Nations and Turkey for 120 days in July of the previous year, aims to address the global food crisis exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a leading grain exporter. Initially hesitant to extend the pact without certain demands being met, Moscow has now acknowledged the importance of ensuring global food security.

Russia's foreign ministry stated, "This is a chance to help ensure global food security, not in words, but in deeds. First and foremost, to help the countries most in need." Although some issues remain unresolved, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the United Nations have committed to ongoing discussions to address them.

While Russian food and fertilizer exports are not affected by Western sanctions imposed following the invasion of Ukraine, Moscow argues that restrictions on payments, logistics, and insurance have hindered shipments. The extension of the grain deal is seen as an opportunity to overcome these challenges and allow the safe and predictable flow of food and fertilizer to global supply chains.

The United States has dismissed Russia's complaints, with Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield stating that Russia continues to export grain and fertilizer at pre-invasion levels, if not higher. However, Ukraine has emphasized the need for effective implementation of the agreement, urging Russia to cease using food as a weapon and engaging in blackmail.

The extension of the Ukraine Black Sea grain deal has already had an impact on grain prices, as Chicago wheat futures and corn futures both experienced a decline of approximately 4%. The agreement's significance is further underscored by the fact that the last ship registered to travel through the corridor departed from a Ukrainian port earlier on Wednesday.

The Joint Coordination Centre (JCC), composed of officials from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the United Nations, oversees the implementation of the Black Sea export deal. They are responsible for authorizing and inspecting ships. However, no new vessels have been authorized by the JCC since May 4. Authorized ships undergo inspections near Turkey before traveling to a Ukrainian Black Sea port through a maritime humanitarian corridor to collect their cargo. They then return to Turkish waters for a final inspection.

The Ukraine Black Sea grain deal has facilitated the export of 30.3 million tonnes of grain and foodstuffs from Ukraine. This includes 625,000 tonnes transported in vessels belonging to the World Food Programme for humanitarian aid operations in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Yemen. The extension of the agreement ensures that these vital exports continue, playing a crucial role in addressing global food security concerns.

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