Russia has still not decided to extend the grain agreement with Ukraine

The US ambassador to the United Nations reassured Ukrainian farmers on Tuesday that extending a wartime agreement to facilitate shipments of grain and other Ukrainian products to the Black Sea is a priority for the UN.

The agreement, which Russia and Ukraine signed separately with the UN and Turkey, is due to expire on November 19. A Russian diplomat on Tuesday spoke of Moscow’s dissatisfaction with its implementation.

Speaking to farmers and journalists at a grain storage facility in Kyiv. US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said she sees Ukraine “as the breadbasket of the world”.

“This (war) has really impacted the whole global food market that you’re not able to get your grain out,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

Russia briefly suspended its participation in the deal last week, alleging a Ukrainian drone attack on its Black Sea Fleet in Crimea on October 29. Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the attack.

Ukraine and Russia are both major global exporters of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other products, and the war has caused shortages and stoked fears of a hunger crisis in the poorest countries.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko said on Tuesday that the Kremlin had not yet decided whether to extend its agreement with Turkey and the UN.

“We still have time. We are looking at how this agreement is implemented after our participation is restored,” Rudenko said. “We are very unhappy with the way the Russian side is implemented, where the UN has took responsibility for solving problems.

Russia and Ukraine on July 22 signed separate agreements for a Black Sea corridor that paved the way for the export of grain from three Ukrainian ports, as well as shipments of grain and fertilizers Russians. The agreement, which established a system of inspection and monitoring so cargo ships can travel safely, will expire next week unless renewed.

Russian representatives at the UN said last month that a renewed agreement should allow for an increase in Russian food and fertilizer exports. Although international sanctions have not targeted these goods, shipping and insurance companies have been reluctant to deal with Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.

Rudenko said Moscow “hasn’t yet seen any progress” in implementing the deal’s provisions regarding Russian food and fertilizers. He said “all factors will be considered” by Moscow as it considers whether to approve an extension.

Ukrainian farmers told Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador, that they want ground wheat to be part of any renewed deal. Currently, only unmilled beans are covered.

Sergii Kurdytskyi, executive director of Gospodar, a grain and dairy cooperative, told The Associated Press that production and market confidence would suffer if the deal does not go ahead.

The grain initiative was a rare example of cooperation between Ukraine and Russia. More than 10 million tons of grain in 397 ships to leave Ukrainian ports, which were blocked and mined at the start of the war.

Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov tweeted that seven more ships were due to dock at one of the three ports on Tuesday to be loaded with an additional 140,000 tonnes of grain.

According to the Joint Coordination Center (JCC), the Turkey-based body set up under the deal to inspect vessels participating in the search for weapons, another 77 vessels were awaiting permission to enter Ukrainian ports , while 15 ships loaded with foodstuffs prepared for checks in Turkish. territorial waters.

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Christi C. Elwood