Ukraine says Russia is preventing operation of Black Sea Grains Deal port

Ukraine says Russia is preventing operation of Black Sea Grains Deal port

KYIV, May 23 (Reuters) – Ukraine on Tuesday accused Russia of excluding the Ukrainian port of Pivdennyi from a deal allowing safe exports of Black Sea grain as Russia complained it had not been able to export ammonia through a pipeline to Pivdennyi under the pact.

The Black Sea deal – brokered last July by the United Nations and Turkey and extended last week for two months – covers the wartime export of food and fertilizers from the Ukrainian ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi.

The UN expressed concern on Monday that Pivdennyi had not received any ships since May 2 under the deal.

Ukrainian Deputy Renovation Minister Yuriy Vaskov accused Russia of “flagrant violation” of the agreement. All ships are inspected by a joint team of Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN inspectors, but Vaskov said Russian inspectors have refused to inspect ships bound for Pivdennyi since April 29.

“They (Russia) have now found an effective way to drastically reduce (Ukrainian) grain exports by excluding the port of Pivdennyi, which deals with large tonnage vessels, from the initiative,” Vaskov said in written comments. Tuesday.

Pivdennyi is the largest port included in the agreement in terms of throughput. Data from the Ministry of Restoration shows that it is storing around 1.5 million tonnes of food products for future exports to 10 countries, with 26 ships due to pick them up.

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters on Tuesday that Russia’s actions were “a clear violation of its commitments” under the grain deal, calling on Moscow to “stop to hold the world’s food supply hostage”.

The Russian Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Miller’s remarks.


The Black Sea Grains deal was struck to help tackle a global food crisis made worse by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The pact also covers ammonia, which Russia has transported to Pivdennyi via a pipeline for export before the war.

Russia had threatened not to renew the Black Sea deal unless a list of demands related to its own food and fertilizer exports were met. Restarting the ammonia pipeline is one such demand, which the United Nations has attempted to negotiate.

Russia was pumping up to 2.5 million tons of ammonia a year for export through the Togliati pipeline. Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said on Tuesday that this amount of ammonia could “produce 7 million tons of fertilizer”.

“This amount of fertilizer would produce enough food to supply 200 million people. These deliveries should have started at the same time as those of Ukrainian food. But that never happened,” he told the UN Security Council.

“The ammonia deficit in world markets amounts to 70% due to the lack of volumes,” Nebenzia said.

A Ukrainian government source told Reuters on Friday that Kiev would consider allowing Russian ammonia to pass through its territory for export if the Black Sea grain deal was expanded to include more Ukrainian ports and a range wider range of products.

Uralchem, Russia’s largest producer of potash and ammonium nitrate, expects the opening of an ammonia export terminal near the Black Sea to make the pipeline through Ukraine much less important, said the company’s CEO.

While Russian food and fertilizer exports are not subject to Western sanctions, Moscow says restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance have been a hindrance to shipments.

Ukraine has accused Moscow of slowing ship inspections under the Black Sea deal, which Russia denies.

“It’s not working the way it should. Russia keeps slowing it down as much as possible,” Vaskov said.

According to UN data, more than 30 million tonnes of food products have been exported so far under the Black Sea agreement.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, editing by Timothy Heritage and Barbara Lewis

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