With Exports Blocked, Russia Drops Ukraine Grain Deal

The announcement follows Putin’s warning that Russia would suspend participation in the deal because parts of it were not being fulfilled. 

International Maritime Organization’s Secretary-General Kitack Lim, back to camera, visiting port of Odessa as part of the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Sept. 2, 2022. (IMO, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

By Peoples Dispatch

On Monday, Russia announced its termination of the U.N.-brokered Black Sea grain deal with Ukraine, first signed in July last year, citing unfulfilled parts of the agreement. 

“The Black Sea agreements are no longer in effect,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said during a press conference in Moscow. “The deadline, as the Russian president said earlier, is July 17. Unfortunately, the part of the Black Sea agreement that concerns Russia has not yet been fulfilled. As a result, it has been terminated.”

Peskov added that “as soon as the Russian part [of the deal] is fulfilled, the Russian side will immediately return to the implementation of this deal,” TASS reported. [Russia’s position was announced before the most recent attack on the Crimean Bridge.] 

Last Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia will suspend participation in the deal unless exports of its own products are unblocked. He claimed that none of the goals linked to the interests of the Russian Federation had been met.

[In April Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters at the U.N.  that dozens of Russian cargo vessels with tons of Russian fertilizer were stuck at European ports.]

The U.N. and Turkey had brokered the deal in July last year to allow for export of Ukrainian grain through its Black Sea ports [with no interference by Russia], for four months. It was later extended for four more months in November, and twice for two months each in March and May.  

Map of Black Sea Initiative, as renewed on Nov. 17, 2022, after initially being signed on July 22, 2022. (Randam, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikiimedia Commons)

Since the agreement, Ukraine was able to export 33 million metric tons of grains from its Black Sea ports via Turkey — where the ships carrying the grain were monitored. 

Russia has been claiming that the U.N. and Turkey have failed to fulfill parts of the agreement [concerning restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance that have become a barrier to Russian shipments] due to the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its European allies.

Specifically, Russia wanted its Russian Agricultural Bank to be reconnected to the SWIFT international payment system, which was disconnected by the European Union in June last year as a part of the sanctions regime against Russia over the war in Ukraine.   

Russian Agricultural Bank headquarters in Moscow. (Igor3188, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Russia has also objected to the fact that a large part of the grain has reached rich European countries instead of going to poorer countries in Asia and Africa, the reason cited for the agreement.  

According to U.N. data, grain from Ukraine has been supplied to 45 countries in three continents under the deal, with Africa getting just 12 percent, Asia 46 percent and 40 percent going to rich countries in Western Europe

This article is from Peoples Dispatch.  

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.


8 comments for “With Exports Blocked, Russia Drops Ukraine Grain Deal

  1. WillD
    July 18, 2023 at 22:58

    Yet more evidence of western duplicity. They are showing the world how little they can be trusted to honour the deals they make.

    And they will be unable to understand why more and more countries will not want to do business with them in the future. They simply can’t be trusted!

  2. CaseyG
    July 18, 2023 at 20:15

    But Russia’s objections were about the European nations getting the most grain—-although that was not the original intent. It was to be given mostly to the poor nations. I guess America is still the racist nation . Once again America decided to screw over Russia, even though Russia was doing the right thing. I do not blame them for stopping the grain going to Europe.

  3. Renate
    July 18, 2023 at 16:02

    Americans know no shame. They have weaponized food, medicine, energy, currencies, you name by calling it sanctions against friends and foes alike. They specialize in starving poor nations like Afghanistan, Syria, Venezuela, and many more and they claim Russia is weaponizing food. Americans have no decency, no integrity, if they had they would experience some shame, and they don’t feel anything. They are the shame of the nation.

  4. Vera Gottlieb
    July 18, 2023 at 12:05

    And once again – alas – it is the innocent who end up paying the price. How about starving all the war mongering nations?

  5. rosemerry
    July 18, 2023 at 10:59

    ALL the Western media immediately filled the columns with lies about poor countries being starved by Putin!!! The shops and the citizens in the EU are stuffed full of excess food while Russian grain and fertiliser, the main provider for poorer nations, are not allowed to be transferred to the needy. Ursula vdl pretends to care about the poor, and UN Sec Gen Gutteres even blames Russia, when HE (Gutteres) failed to insist on the exceptions arranged with Russia and NOT fulfilled.

    • Renate
      July 18, 2023 at 16:22

      Shame on all Western Democracies, they are nothing but criminal syndicates, we, the people, have to be ashamed of all of them.
      Shame to have elected a criminal government, regardless of party. The UN has lost all credibility, it is another servant to the criminal Washington outfit.

  6. Robert
    July 18, 2023 at 09:00

    The U.S. Government thought that no country could break free from its sanctions policy, and it was marvelously successful for decades. Still is successful today but the iron wall is crumbling because of Russia and the BRICS. Once we took on Russia with the ferocity we did, and Russia didn’t fall apart as we expected, non western governments decided that maybe, just maybe, there is an alternative to the USD. One result is that non western governments ignored our sanctions on Russia, with the big surprise being India. The result so far is more international trade being conducted with local currencies, or the Chinese yuan. The next step would be a BRICS currency. Either way, the USD hegemony has peaked. Only question is how rapid is the decline in its use.

  7. Dr. Hujjathullah M.H.B. Sahib
    July 18, 2023 at 04:20

    It is quite puzzling why Russia still look to the deal-ditching West for fresh deals including the ones from which Russia has been ejected like SWIFT etc. … It must be remembered that deal-making in recent Western practice has been actually misused for achieving various mid-term and strategic objectives !

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