© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Panama-flagged bulk carrier Navi Star arrives at the Port of Foynes to deliver 33,000 tonnes of Ukrainian corn to Ireland after leaving Odessa following the establishment of the Black Sea Grains Initiative, in Foynes, Ireland August 20, 20
By Pavel Polityuk
KYIV (Reuters) – Ukraine wants the Black Sea grain export deal to be expanded to include more ports and cargo, and hopes a decision to extend the deal by at least a year will be made next week. , Deputy Infrastructure Minister of Ukraine said on Tuesday.
The deal, which helped defuse a global food crisis by blocking three major Ukrainian ports during the Russian invasion, expired on November 19 and looked short-lived last month when Moscow cease participating in the agreement before rejoining.
“(We) were very late (give) clear information to the market about the extension (of the agreement),” Deputy Minister Yuriy Vaskov told Reuters in an interview.
“We hope that no later than next week from our partners Turkey and the UN, we will have an understanding and the whole market will also have a clear signal about resume operations. and continuation of this initiative,” he said.
The agreement has allowed about 10.5 million tons of Ukrainian food, mainly grain, to be shipped to foreign markets since the agreement in July under the mediation of Turkey and the United Nations.
Vaskov said Ukraine had offered to extend at least a year to Turkey and the United Nations, as well as expand the agreement to include ports in the southern region of Mykolaiv, which supply 35% of Ukraine’s food exports. before the Russian invasion.
Kyiv also demanded that mandatory inspections of vessels involved in the transport of food be “streamlined”, as Kyiv argues that Russia is deliberately slowing down the inspection to slow down exports. he said.
“We have … asked to streamline the inspections or cancel the (ship) inspections that have already departed, because that makes no sense. Or else, increase the number of convoys. inspector,” Vaskov said.
He noted that exports under the agreement could amount to 15 million tons, if Russia does not delay the inspection of the ships.
Vaskov said that the inspectors of the Joint Center that oversees the deal only conduct 12 inspections per day, but 25-30 inspections are required.
“When Turkey and the United Nations tested themselves, they proved that they could do more than 40 tests a day. Now Russia is back… we have 12 tests in total again. every day,” he said.
“They don’t explain (the reason for the delay), but they also don’t hide that they are doing this to complicate the work of the corridor,” Vaskov said.
Vaskov said neither the United Nations nor Turkey had informed Kyiv of the conditions for extending the agreement offered by Russia.
Moscow said it had received assurances that the grain corridor would not be used for military purposes. The UN said it will continue to work on easier conditions for Russian fertilizer exports.
Vaskov said Kyiv supports the exclusive peaceful use of the grain corridor and the existing agreement regarding the export of fertilizers.
However, he said that so far there have been no applications from ships wanting to transport ammonia from Ukrainian ports.
“Ukraine has confirmed and confirmed that the grain corridor is open only to ships participating in the initiative – both past and future,” said the deputy minister.