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Conflicts: Agreement with Russia on Ukrainian grain extended

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Russia has agreed to an extension of the agreement on Ukrainian grain shipments. The United Nations supports Russian demands to facilitate its own exports.

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The agreement on exporting Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea is renewed. The representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the UN and Turkey have agreed on this, as the United Nations announced. The agreement will be extended by 120 days, according to a UN spokeswoman in Istanbul and Ukraine’s Minister of Infrastructure, Oleksandr Kubrakov.

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There was initially no reaction from Moscow. Russia has given signals that it will not let the agreement expire, said Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Pankin in Bangkok, according to the Tass news agency.

In July, two agreements with Russia and Ukraine on the end of the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports and the export of Ukrainian grain were signed for an initial period of four months, mediated by the UN and Turkey. The agreement would have expired on November 19 if it had not been extended. Before the war, Russia and Ukraine provided nearly a quarter of world grain exports. In addition, there was an agreement with Russia to facilitate the export of Russian food and fertilizers.

dispute over sanctions

Russia has always threatened to scrap the agreements, citing, among other things, that its own grain and fertilizer exports are being further hampered by Western sanctions. Western sanctions are not aimed at these Russian exports. However, their existence makes it difficult for Russian actors to call at European ports, process payments and obtain insurance for their ships. The UN and Turkey are committed to solving these problems.

According to the UN, eleven million tons of grain and other food have been transported through the corridor so far. This clearly shows how important the agreement is for the world’s food supply and security, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted after the agreement.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the continuation of the accords is necessary to lower food and fertilizer prices and prevent a global food crisis. He thanked Turkey for mediating. “Istanbul remains the center of a remarkable diplomatic achievement.”

Cem Özdemir: “A ray of hope in these dark times”

The German government also welcomed the extension of the agreement. Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) said that this was “a ray of hope in these dark times” for millions of people in need worldwide. Despite Russia’s war of aggression, Ukraine is helping to stabilize world markets and is helping to keep food affordable. Özdemir reiterated that alternative export routes to the Black Sea must be permanently established. “Ukraine cannot depend on Russia’s favor again.”

Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) called the extension of the agreement “good news”. At the same time, she advocated solutions to reduce dependencies on grain imports in partner countries. This also includes sustainable, climate-adapted cultivation of local varieties.

Shared control

Among other things, the agreement stipulates that ships on their way to and from Ukrainian ports will be checked in a joint coordination center in Istanbul by teams made up of Ukrainian, Russian, Turkish and UN representatives.

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in support of the hungry also welcomed the agreement. “The Black Sea Corridor is a lifeline for the 349 million acutely starving people in the world,” said Martin Frick, head of the Berlin office of the UN organization, the German Press Agency. Thanks to the agreement, the WFP was able to ship well over 300,000 tons of food.

A week before the agreement expired, talks between the United Nations and Russia to continue the initiative began in Geneva. At the end of October, Moscow temporarily suspended the agreement, arguing that Ukraine had used the grain corridor for military purposes and thus breached the agreement. Kyiv denied the allegations.

Source: Stern

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