Russia Agrees to Extend Black Sea Grain Agreement
Turkish Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Wednesday that the Ukraine Black Sea grain deal was extended for two more months — just one day before Russia could have exited the agreement that allows Ukraine to ship grain across the Black Sea to other countries
- Turkish Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Wednesday that the Ukraine Black Sea grain deal was extended for two more months — just one day before Russia could have exited the agreement that allows Ukraine to ship grain across the Black Sea to other countries.1
- Brokered by the UN and Turkey on July 22, 2022, the Black Sea deal aimed to bring Ukrainian grain and Russian food and fertilizer to countries struggling with food insecurity to break a disruption in supply and fight global food insecurity.2
- The agreement was initially set for 120 days but was twice extended in November and March, despite objections from Russia. UN Sec. General António Guterres said the agreement was “good news for the world” but added that “outstanding issues remain” regarding Russia’s demands to continue the deal.3
- Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned the deal will expire in July unless the five goals of the Russia-UN memorandum are achieved, including Russia’s state bank being reconnected to SWIFT as well as the removal of sanctions and barriers hurting Russia’s economy and businesses. Russia also criticized the deal for sending more grain to wealthier countries than to more needy ones.4
- Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that a separate agreement aimed at facilitating shipments of Russian food and fertilizer has not been applied and problems must be resolved "at the technical level.” However, neither Moscow nor Erdoğan has alluded to any concessions being granted to Russia.5
- Global wheat prices fell after the extension was announced, and the Joint Coordination Centre in Istanbul, which implements the agreement — and is staffed by officials from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the UN — authorized three ships to travel to Ukrainian ports for the first time in two weeks.6
Sources: 1FOX News, 2Reuters (a), 3CBS, 4TASS, 5Associated Press, and 6Reuters (b).
- Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by RT. Despite persistent sanctions and the West failing to uphold its end of the bargain, Russia has taken the moral high ground by agreeing to extend this deal. Meanwhile, the UN and Ukraine appear less interested in nations battling food insecurity as most of the Ukrainian grain continues to go to wealthy countries that can, in turn, line Kyiv’s pockets.
- Anti-Russia narrative, as provided by Foreign Policy. Russia’s agreement to extend the Black Sea Initiative was no altruistic gesture to the hungry. It was a calculated decision by Moscow to appease its allies, mainly China, who benefit greatly from the pact. Russia tried to leverage starvation to gain concessions from the international community, but couldn’t follow through with it for external reasons. Any humanitarian motives by the Kremlin are suspect at best.