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U.N., Turkey, Ukraine press ahead with Black Sea grain deal despite Russian pullout

Published 10/29/2022, 10:53 AM
Updated 10/30/2022, 06:56 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A combine harvests wheat in a field near the village of Zghurivka in Kyiv region, Ukraine August 9, 2022.  REUTERS/Viacheslav Musiienko/File Photo

By Pavel Polityuk and Michelle Nichols

KYIV/NEW YORK (Reuters) -The United Nations, Turkey and Ukraine are pressing ahead to implement a Black Sea grain deal with a transit plan in place for 16 ships on Monday, despite Russia suspending its participation in the pact that has allowed the export of Ukrainian agricultural products to world markets.

Russia, which invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, in the Black Sea deal on Saturday for an "indefinite term" because it could said it could not "guarantee safety of civilian ships" travelling under the pact after an attack on its Black Sea fleet.

The United Nations and Turkey, two main brokers of the July deal, scrambled on Sunday to save it. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was deeply concerned about Russia's move and delayed a foreign trip to try and revive the agreement that was intended to ease a global food crisis, his spokesperson said.

Following Russia's move, wheat prices on international commodities markets were expected to leap on Monday as both Russia and Ukraine are among the world's largest wheat exporters, analysts said.

More than 9.5 million tonnes of corn, wheat, sunflower products, barley, rapeseed and soy have been exported since July. Under the deal, a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) - made up of U.N., Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian officials - agrees on the movement of ships and inspects the vessels.

No ships moved through the established maritime humanitarian corridor on Sunday. But the United Nations said in a statement that it had agreed with Ukraine and Turkey on a movement plan for 16 vessels on Monday - 12 outbound and 4 inbound.

It said the Russian officials at the JCC had been told about the plan, along with the intention to inspect 40 outbound vessels on Monday, and noted that "all participants coordinate with their respective military and other relevant authorities to ensure the safe passage of commercial vessels" under the deal.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar was in contact with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts to try and salvage the agreement and had asked the parties to avoid any provocation, the Turkish defence ministry said.

NATO and the European Union have urged Russia to reconsider its decision. U.S. President Joe Biden on Saturday called Russia's move "purely outrageous" and said it would increase starvation. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Moscow of weaponising food.

On Sunday, Russia's ambassador to Washington, snapped back, saying the U.S. response was "outrageous" and made false assertions about Moscow's move.

FALSE PRETEXT'

The Russian defence ministry said Ukraine attacked the Black Sea Fleet near Sevastopol with 16 drones early and that British navy "specialists" had helped coordinate what it called a terrorist attack. Britain denied the claim. Russia said it repelled the attack but that the ships targeted were involved in ensuring the grain corridor out of Ukraine's Black Sea ports.

Ukraine has neither confirmed nor denied it was behind the attack. The Ukrainian military suggested that Russians themselves may have been responsible for the explosions.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Moscow used the explosions 220 km (137 miles) away from the grain corridor as a "false pretext" for a long-intended move.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's chief of staff accused Russia on Saturday of inventing attacks on its own facilities.

Ukraine often accuses Russia of using the Black Sea Fleet to fire cruise missiles at Ukrainian civilian targets, a charge supported by some military analysts who say that makes the fleet a legitimate military target.

Russia's invasion has recently been dominated by a Ukrainian counteroffensive and Russian drone and missile attacks that have destroyed more than 30% of Ukraine's generating capacity and hit populated areas. Each side has accused the other of being prepared to detonate radioactive bombs.

Russia asked the U.N. Security Council to meet on Monday to discuss the Sevastopol attack, Deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy wrote on Twitter.

SHIPS BLOCKED

The grain deal had restarted shipments from Ukraine, allowing sales on world markets, targeting the pre-war level of 5 million metric tonnes exported from Ukraine each month.

But ahead of its Nov. 19 expiry, Russia had said that there were serious problems with it and Ukraine complained that Moscow had blocked almost 200 ships from picking up grain cargoes.

The deal ensured safe passage in and out of Odesa and two other Ukrainian ports.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russia of wanting to escalate the crisis, saying 218 ships were blocked and waiting to either carry food or enter Ukrainian ports.

Zelenskiy said 40,000 tonnes of wheat had been loaded onto a ship at the port of Chornomorsk, chartered by the U.N. Food Program and intended for Ethiopia which he said was "on the brink of starvation" and, like Yemen and Somalia, facing "catastrophic" food shortages.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Maltese-flagged bulk carrier Rojen, carrying Ukrainian grain, sails in the Bosphorus, Istanbul, Turkey August 7, 2022. REUTERS/Yoruk Isik

"We are ready to release this ship into the sea," he said, but like other ships with agricultural products, it was being forced to wait, "because Russia is blackmailing the world with hunger," he said.

Zelenskiy called for a strong response from the United Nations and Group of 20 (G20) major economies to what he called Russia's nonsensical move on the grain deal, saying in a video address on Saturday that the move threatened large-scale famine in Africa and Asia.

Latest comments

Russians are cowards
Russian is subhuman dirt and not to be trusted. Blaming everyone else for their failing invasion.
its only for the vessels already on sea. those 14 or more will the last to leave.
take
Every country in the world has to become food neutral (being able to feed itself), or starve. Either control the population or else.....the globe will talked care of it.
us mkt to fall due to profit taking but Asia and Europe mkts to rise thanks to followup on us mkt action last week.
it would be better for Mr. b and Mr. p shake hands and seek peace. better for b and plausible for p.
You can think what you want, but the war crimes committed by mister p are never going to be forgotten  in the eu. So it doesn’t matter what mister p and b want. What matters now is that this war criminal eventually is brought to justice.
 EU will forget about “crimes” on next day after US withdraws support for the war. Fighting alone or even paying alone for the war is never an option for euros.
Putin is an evil person imo. But right now he pretty much controls Europe's future and the well being of the world. Most aren't happy believing that, but it's very true.
He is losing big time
Soviet propaganda, Putin controlls shlt and plss only
Putin is a hommmooo
Let’s nato destroy putin and his musilimmmm friends
Let UN ship the grain together with nato
Fuxk we hate putin and the russians
Another silly attempt to regulate the war. Either you fight the war or you make peace. Doing something in the middle, kind of regulated war, will only prolong the war to eternity.
putin the loser, lost militarily to zelensky the actor, lol, so now he turns to fuel and food as weapons! like trump, once a loser always a loser!
Bullish for nasdaq!
Not really. Overpriced.
Dollar gonna skyrocket
Usa is making money on this war but biden is fair he send them back too Ukraine weapons and money usa is now the biggest deliver in LNG thanks for that go go biden 👌👌👌👌more year’s
👌
Nordkorea it’s the same as russia to little fat rat in a old body now we have to rocket man in the world destroying the peace
3 little fat Rats in the same world xiping putin kim
Sink the russische fleet it will be a piece of cake for the west
Nuke it
More support too ukraine weapons and soldiers we have to destroy all russians army this must be stopped send the russians back to the stone age
What is dead may never die
All russia is responsible for the war and every lost of life in this insane war putin has stated hope they will place some bombes inside russia Kreml moscow soo the russia can feel the same pain
The Russian decision will increase the scarcity of cereals and boost the price of food and animal feed, and therefore also the price of meat. This adds to my conviction that it is too early for the FED to pivot, otherwise it will be like in the 70's, where we experienced 3 successive waves of strong price increases between 1974 and 1981 and stagflation.
Russia has a history of killing their own citizens and blaming it on others to start invade other countries. It happened to Finland that started the Winter War when Russia shelled their own forces and blamed it on Finland, where Russia lost big despite having a 10 to 1 advantage. It also happened in what's simply known as 'The Apartment Bombings' where Putin bombed his own Russian people and blamed it on Chechnya. Oddly the police officer who tried to investigate it was told not to, and put in jail for a crime he didn't commit when he asked questions. Russia invaded Chechnya a second time and this is how Putin came to power. Russia wants to put pressure on the West by increasing inflation and stopping gas hoping to end the West's resolve in helping Ukraine stop Russia's aggression, so they bombed the Nordstrom gas pipes and attacked their own ships and blamed it on others. Putin scared of a coup after the Arab Spring and Belarusian protests so he invaded Ukraine. Big mistake.
So many spammers here
Russians spammers
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