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Deal Signed to Allow Grain Exports out of Ukraine

Lifting cargo cranes, ships and grain dryer in Sea Port of Odessa, Black Sea, Ukraine. Photo: Adobe Stock.

Officials from Russia and Ukraine signed a deal Friday to reopen grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. The agreement, if executed, could end at least partially a months-long Russian blockade of ports that remain under Ukraine’s control, especially the port of Odessa.

Officials from the United Nations expect the agreement will be fully operational in a few weeks and restore shipments to pre-war levels of five million tons per month. The deal will allow Ukraine to export the 22 million tons of grain and other agricultural products that have been stuck in the Black Sea ports due to Russia’s invasion.

However, U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price says the U.S. will be looking for proof that Russia will uphold its end of the Turkish-brokered deal to free up Ukrainian grain exports.

“To date, Russia has weaponized food during this conflict. They have destroyed agricultural facilities. They prevented millions of tons of Ukrainian grain from getting to those who need it. As I said, we welcome the announcement of this agreement in principle,” according to Price.

“But what we’re focusing on now is holding Russia accountable for implementing this agreement and enabling Ukrainian grain to get to world markets. It has been far too long since Russia enacted this blockade. It is a reflection of Russia’s wanton disregard for lives and livelihoods not only in the region but well beyond that we even had to reach this point.”

Russia’s blocked Ukraine, a major ‘breadbasket,’ from exporting 22 million tons of stored grain, driving up world prices and threatening mass starvation in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia. That is to pressure the West to lift war-related sanctions on Moscow.

Source: NAFB