Will the Black Sea Grain Initiative expand? News. News headlines and events Last Minute Russia


A senior Ukrainian official said talks to expand the UN-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative, which provides grain exports from ports blocked by Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, would begin within a week.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, launched in July last year with the mediation of the UN and Turkey, allows grain to be exported from three Ukrainian ports.

The deal was extended for another 120 days in November and will be extended again in March. However, Russia signaled its dissatisfaction with some aspects of the agreement and demanded the lifting of sanctions affecting its agricultural exports.

“Negotiations on expanding the grain corridor will begin in a week, and then we will understand the positions of all parties,” Deputy Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Yuriy Vaskov said at a grain conference organized by the agricultural consulting company ProAgro in Kiev. Ukraine.

“I think common sense will prevail and the corridor will become longer,” Vaskov said.

Vaskov also said that Russia is under pressure not only to expand the corridor, but also to improve its functioning, without going into details. “We see that the enemy is beginning to put forward new conditions. We understand that it will be difficult, as it was in November,” Vaskov added.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative has created a secure maritime transit corridor and is designed to reduce global food shortages for Ukraine’s clients, including some of the world’s poorest countries. Developing countries such as Somalia and Eritrea are also heavily dependent on wheat imports from Russia.

Kyiv has repeatedly accused Russia of delaying inspections of ships carrying Ukrainian agricultural products, resulting in reduced shipments and losses for traders.

Russia has previously denied the allegations, saying it has fulfilled all of its obligations under the grain export agreement.

In the 2022-2023 season, which will last until June, Ukrainian grain exports fell by 29 percent to 29 million 200 thousand tons as of February 13 due to reduced harvests and logistics difficulties caused by the Russian occupation.

The Union of Grain Traders of the UGA stated that a decrease in the harvest of grain and oilseeds in Ukraine is expected from 72 million 700 thousand tons in 2022 to 64 million 800 thousand tons in 2023. The association announced that wheat exports could reach 14 million tons and corn exports could reach 20 million tons in the 2023-2024 market season.

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