1. Home
  2. Agriculture World

"Russian Grain Corridor Sabotage Could Cause an Increase in Food Prices," says Ukraine’s Agri Minister

The blockade of Ukrainian seaports by Russia triggered a global food crisis. In July, a UN-backed grain deal was reached, forcing Russia to open three ports in Odesa Oblast to cargo ships carrying agricultural products.

Shivam Dwivedi
Ukraine's Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi
Ukraine's Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, as it is officially known, was extended for another 120 days in November and is up for renewal in March.

Meanwhile, Russia is allegedly sabotaging a previously successful initiative that allowed Ukraine to export over 6 million tonnes of agricultural products each month, approaching 2021 levels. Ships entering and leaving Ukrainian ports must be inspected by Ukrainian, Russian, Turkish, and UN observers in the Bosphorus Strait as part of the agreement.

On February 15, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov accused Russia of deliberately slowing inspections. According to the joint statement, over 140 vessels are awaiting inspections, with some waiting for more than a month. According to Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi, Russia reduced the number of inspections by half.

As a result, Ukraine only transported 5.5 million metric tonnes of agricultural products in January, down from 6.9 million tonnes in October, according to Solskyi.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin indicated Russia's unwillingness to renew the initiative unless it is exempt from agricultural export sanctions. Although Western sanctions do not target Russian grain and fertiliser exports, Russia has previously attempted to ease sanctions on Rosselkhozbank, a state agricultural bank, including reconnecting it to SWIFT.

With the renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in March in doubt, the Kyiv Independent spoke with Solskyi about agricultural product exports, the grain deal, farmer damages and losses as a result of Russia's all-out war, and Ukraine's current needs.

International No Diet Day 2024 Quiz Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters