UN lacks backup plan if Russia withdraws from grain agreement

12.05.2023, 17:54
UN lacks backup plan if Russia withdraws from grain agreement - Photo
Linda Thomas-Greenfield (photo - EPA)

The United Nations has not prepared a "backup plan" in case Russia withdraws from the grain agreement on May 18, stated the official representative of the UN, Stéphane Dujarric, Voice of America reports.

"We don't have a 'plan B' for the Black Sea... We can't move the sea. And we can't move the Bosphorus," Dujarric said when asked about what would happen if Russia followed through on its threats on May 18 will really get out of the deal.

The Voice of America notes that Russia is trying to justify its exit from the grain initiative by saying that the agreement gives "one-sided benefit" only to Ukraine. However, according to the statement of Ms. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, "Russia exports grain and fertilizers at the same level, if not higher, than before the start of the full-scale invasion."

In her opinion, Russia is trying to raise world prices for bread and make money from it by threats and sabotage of grain exports from Ukraine.

According to the Istanbul Joint Coordination Center, the number of inspections of vessels heading to and from Ukraine under the Black Sea Initiative fell from a daily average of 4.4 inspections per entry and 6.3 per exit in October 2022 to 1.4 per entry and 1.5 for release in May 2023.

As Jim O'Brien, head of the Office of Sanctions Coordination of the US State Department, stated, "the Russians are abusing the procedures of the Black Sea Grain Initiative — first they do not allow vessels to register, and then they disrupt their inspections."

On May 11, a meeting was held in Istanbul at the level of the deputy defense ministers of Turkey, Russia, and Ukraine, as well as representatives of the UN, at which the issue of extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative was discussed. The Ministry of Defense of Turkey reported only the fact of the meeting, but did not say anything about its results.

REFERENCE. On July 22, 2022, an agreement on the safe transportation of grain from the ports of Ukraine was signed in Istanbul in the presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The document was signed by representatives of Ukraine, the UN, and Turkey. Russia concluded its own similar agreement with Turkey and the UN.

Earlier, Russia threatened to withdraw from the grain initiative on May 18.

On May 8, Russian representatives again blocked the work of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, refusing to register incoming vessels and carry out their inspections.

On May 9, the Turkish media reported on the resumption of the grain corridor, blocked for two days.

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