The last ship with Ukrainian grain within the Black Sea Grain Agreement left the port
The last ship with Ukrainian food within the framework of the Black Sea Grain Agreement, which is set to sail on May 18, left the port in Odesa. According to the UN, the dry cargo ship DSM Capella left the port of Chornomorsk with 30,000 tons of corn and is headed for Turkey. The agreement concluded last July was extended twice for 120 days, but the third time the Kremlin agreed to only a 60-day extension. Last week, high-ranking officials from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the UN failed to agree on the extension of the agreement in Istanbul. The day before, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: “Contacts continue at different levels. We are obviously at a delicate stage.” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu expressed his belief last week that the deal could be extended for at least another two months. While Russian food and fertilizer exports are not subject to Western sanctions imposed after the war in Ukraine began, Moscow says restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance are hampering supplies. In response, the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said: “We are exporting grain and fertilizer at the same level, if not higher, than before the full-scale invasion.” Also, Ukraine and the USA have constantly reported on numerous obstacles on the part of Russia in the inspection of vessels within the framework of the Black Sea Agreement. The agreement made it possible to export about 30.3 million tons of Ukrainian grain and food products, of which 50% was corn and 28% wheat, the rest – rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, meal and barley. In particular, 625 thousand tons of food on ships of the World Food Program to provide aid in the poorest starving countries – Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Yemen. Voice of America previously reported that the International Rescue Committee called for the continuation of the Black Sea Grain Agreement, as 349 million people in 79 countries face acute food shortages, and a severe shortage of grain exports, as well as a lack of affordable fertilizers, will increase the number of people suffering from hunger to 19 million, predicts the UN. At the same time, Ukrainian and international traders and analysts polled by Reuters expect the agreement to be renewed, although perhaps with some delay. Most are convinced that even if Russia does not agree to the agreement, it will not stop Ukrainian supplies to world markets, albeit at a higher price. In particular, Dan Basse, president of Chicago-based consulting company AgResource, said: “With a lower crop this year, it could all go west through Eastern Europe. The problem is that it will cost 15-20% more.” However, Mykola Horbachov, head of the Ukrainian Grain Association, warns that without the sea corridor, prices for export logistics will rise and reduce farmers’ margins so much that they will stop producing wheat and corn in large quantities. At the same time, European representatives previously stated that the European Union could agree to temporary restrictions on the import of grain from Ukraine. Agricultural producers in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria say that the influx of Ukrainian grain, oil and other food products has caused prices to fall and led to losses for farmers in those countries. Because of this, some countries resorted to unilateral bans on the import and even transit of Ukrainian products, causing a warning from Brussels that the issues of the common European market should not be resolved by individual countries, but at the EU level. The United Nations has previously said it has no back-up plan if Russia withdraws from the Black Sea Treaty.
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