Ukraine seeks to extend shipping safe passage deal beyond grain

Photo Credit: Reuters

Three grain ships left Ukrainian ports on Friday while the first inbound cargo vessel since Russia’s invasion was due in Ukraine later in the day to load, as Kyiv called for the safe passage deal to be extended to other cargoes such as metals.

The July 22 deal marked a rare diplomatic breakthrough as war rages in eastern Ukraine, with Kyiv trying to rebuild its shattered economy after more than five months of conflict.

“We expect that the security guarantees of our partners from the U.N. and Turkey will continue to work, and food exports from our ports will become stable and predictable for all market participants,” Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Facebook after the ships set off.

The first grain ship left Odesa on Monday.

“This agreement is about logistics, about the movement of vessels through the Black Sea,” Ukrainian Deputy Economy Minister Taras Kachka told Financial Times. “What’s the difference between grain and iron ore?”

The Kremlin said a solution can only be found if linked to lifting restrictions on Russian metal producers.

The United Nations and Turkey brokered the safe passage deal between Moscow and Kyiv after U.N. warnings of outbreaks of famine due to grain shipments from Ukraine being halted.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, sparking the biggest conflict in Europe since World War Two and fuelling a global energy and food crisis.

On Friday, two grain ships set off from Chornomorsk and one from Odesa, carrying a total of about 58,000 tonnes of corn, the Turkish defence ministry said.

The Turkish bulk carrier Osprey S, flying the flag of Liberia, was expected to arrive in Chornomorsk on Friday to load up with grain, the regional administration of Odesa said.

Ukraine would like to include ports in the southern Mykolaiv region, to the east of Odesa, in the safe passage deal, though it has been frequently shelled throughout the invasion.

The city of Mykolaiv itself will impose an unusually long curfew from late Friday to early Monday as authorities try to catch people collaborating with Russia, the region’s governor said.

Mykolaiv lies close to Russian-occupied parts of the strategically important region of Kherson where Ukraine plans to conduct a counter-offensive.

Russia and Ukraine traditionally produce about one third of global wheat and Russia is Europe’s main energy supplier. But Russia said on Friday it might not reach its expected harvest of 130 million tonnes of grain due to weather factors and a lack of spare parts for foreign-made equipment.

Ukraine’s grain exports were down 48.6% year on year at 1.23 million tonnes so far this season, its agriculture ministry said.

-Reuters

Related posts

Samad Seyidov: Azerbaijan-Russia relations meet international principles

Moscow to host upcoming meeting of CIS Council of Foreign Ministers

FM Lavrov thanks Tajikistan for assistance in investigation of Crocus City Hall terrorist attack