Russia agrees to extend Ukraine grain deal to boost global food security


ANKARA, TURKEY (AP) – Russia has agreed to a two-month extension to a deal allowing Ukraine to ship grain to starving parts of the world through the Black Sea, said Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The president announced Wednesday that it would boost global demand.food security After the war, prices soared.

Türkiye and UN brokered landmark deal A deal with the adversaries last summer included another agreement to facilitate the shipment of Russian food and fertilizer, but Russia claims it has not been applied..

Russia had threatened to withdraw if its concerns were not dispelled by Thursday.Such brinkmanship policies are nothing new: there was a similar extension in March, with Russia unilaterally deciding to renew the agreement for 60 days. instead of the 120 days stated in the agreement.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that the issue had to be resolved “on a technical level”. Neither she nor Erdogan mentioned any concessions Moscow might have obtained.

“We will continue our efforts to ensure that all the terms of the deal are met and continue into the next term,” said Erdogan, who announced the long-awaited decision two days after being forced into a run-off. in the Turkish presidential election.

Expansion of the Black Sea Grains Initiative will be a win for some countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia that rely on Ukrainian wheat, barley, vegetable oil and other affordable foods, especially as drought takes a toll.This agreement contributed to lower food prices. Like last year’s wheat, but that relief hasn’t reached the table.

“Ukrainian and Russian products feed the world,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “They are important because we are still in the midst of a record cost of living crisis.”

Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Kubrakov welcomed the extension but stressed that the deal “must work effectively”. On Facebook, he accused Russia of holding back joint ship inspections. By Russian, Ukrainian, UN and Turkish officials.

The average daily inspections aimed at ensuring that ships are only carrying food and not weapons that could support both sides fell from a peak of 10.6 in October to 3.2 last month. steadily declining.Ukrainian grain shipments also declined in the last few weeks.

Russia has denied delaying work. Since May 6, no ships have been cleared to enter the three open Ukrainian ports, and Kubrakov said nearly 70 ships were waiting in Turkish waters to join.

Meanwhile, Russia ships record amounts of wheat through other ports. Critics say this suggests the Kremlin is ready to make concessions in areas such as sanctions from Western countries, or is trying to wrest concessions.

The agreement has enabled the shipment of more than 30 million tons of Ukrainian grain, more than half of which is destined for developing countries.. China, Spain and Turkey are the largest recipients, with Russia saying this shows that food is not being sent to the poorest countries.

Guterres said developed countries import Ukrainian corn for animal feed, but emerging countries receive the “large majority” of the grain people eat.. He pointed out that exports drive down prices for everyone.

“Looking ahead, we hope that exports of food and fertilizers, including ammonia, from the Russian Federation and Ukraine will reach global supply chains safely and predictably,” the UN Secretary-General said Wednesday.

The US said Russia should stop setting hurdles to the deal.

State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters: “There is no need to remind the Russian government every few weeks to keep its promises and stop using the hunger of its people as a weapon in its war against Ukraine. ‘ said.

Caitlin Welsh, director of the Global Food Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Russia will export more wheat than any other country in a year, at 44 million tonnes. said to have been.

According to trade flows tracked by financial data provider Refinitiv, Russia exported just over 4 million tonnes of wheat in April, following record or near-record records in previous months. It was the highest amount in five years.

Exports since July reached 32.2 million tonnes, a 34% increase over the same period last season, according to Refinitiv.

The Welshman said Russia knows that the less grain Ukraine can export, the more it can make up the shortfall. And restrictions on shipments to the Black Sea mean the war-torn country will have to rely more on land routes through the European Union, angering its neighbors..

“The more restricted Ukrainian access to Black Sea ports, the more political influence it will have over its trading partners, and the better for Russia in terms of straining EU member states’ cohesion and support for Ukraine. ” she said. .

Wheat harvest is approaching in Ukraine William Osnat, a senior research analyst with Agricultural Data and Analytics, said maintaining the Black Sea route is key to avoiding “a return to the market in large quantities of wheat and other grains.” , said the crop should be sold in July. Grointelligence, Inc.

Includes large food importers such as Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria and East Africa. — Facing drought and economic problems that can keep food prices high.

“Food shortages in the system and shortages of affordable fertilizers continue to push prices up, making it difficult to predict whether families in countries like Somalia will be able to afford to eat the next day. There are,” said Shaswat Saraf, director of the emergency department. At the East Africa International Rescue Committee.

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Mr Bornnell reported from London. Associated Press reporter Jamie Keaten in Geneva. Andrew Cattel in New York. Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations. Matthew Lee of Washington. and Evelyn Mousambi of Nairobi, Kenya.



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