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Ukraine: Russia is blocking the grain export deal again


Ukraine’s Ministry of Renewal and Infrastructure said yesterday that the United Nations-brokered grain export deal has stalled again because Russia has blocked the registration of ships heading to all Ukrainian ports.

And the Ukrainian ministry wrote in a post on Facebook: “The Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul announced that it is impossible to draw up an inspection plan for the first of June, due to another unjustified refusal of the Russian delegation to register the upcoming fleet to participate in the initiative.” The ministry said Russia registered only one vessel coming for inspection in the last two days of May, and offered no explanation for the move, which the ministry said was a “gross violation” of the initiative.

Russia did not immediately comment on the ministry’s statement.

Ukrainian officials said Russia had “unjustifiably restricted” the work of the Black Sea grain deal since mid-April.

It said that 50 ships are awaiting inspection in Turkish territorial waters, and that it is ready to transport 2.4 million tons of Ukrainian food abroad. Some ships have been waiting for inspections for more than three months.

The ministry also criticized what it described as Russia’s closure of Odessa’s largest port of Pivdenye, which is not part of the UN-brokered initiative.

Russia has previously denied any wrongdoing, but has urged all parties to the grain deal to lift the transit ban on Russian ammonia, so it can be exported via a pipeline from Russia through Ukrainian territory to Pevdenye.