18 mar 2023 4:26 p.m
The dispute over the export of grain from Ukraine across the Black Sea continues. Moscow only agrees to an extension of 60 days. Russia is now giving the other parties until May 18 to remove all obstacles to its agricultural exports.
The grain agreement between Russia and Ukraine, which was concluded last July in Istanbul under the mediation of the United Nations and Turkey and regulates the safe transport of grain and food from Ukrainian Black Sea ports, expires on Sunday. Actually, the text provides for an automatic extension of 120 days, provided no party objects. However, Moscow only agrees to an extension of 60 days.
On Friday, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebensia announced at a UN Security Council meeting that Russia would extend the deal by 60 days until May 18. Ukraine and Turkey have already been informed. The Russian diplomat made the future of the agreement dependent on the actions of the West.
“If Washington, Brussels and London are indeed keen on the continuation of food exports from Ukraine via the sea corridor in their own interest, then they have two months to lift their sanctions and, with the cooperation of the UN, to unblock the whole chain of operations that accompany the Russian food export.”
At the same time, Nebensja pointed out that the poorest countries had only received three percent of all food deliveries under the grain deal. This initiative, originally intended as a humanitarian initiative, has now turned into a commercial one.
“Their impact on global food prices is quite controversial.”
In addition, Nebensja accused Western agribusinesses of profiting from high food prices. Among other things, the diplomat named the US companies Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge and Cargill and the Dutch holding company Louis Dreyfus.
“Their share accounts for 75 to 90 percent of global food sales. In 2022, Cargill alone increased its sales volume by 23 percent to $165 billion and posted a record net income of $5 billion.”
At the same time, Nebensja warned of starvation in Ukraine, as this country exports its agricultural products uncontrolled. In addition, more and more arable land would be handed over to foreign agricultural companies.
The Russian ambassador to the UN also complained that the memorandum signed by Moscow and the UN on the export of fertilizers and foodstuffs from Russia was not being fulfilled. The West does not take this document into account and does not even want to mention it in draft resolutions of the UN Security Council.
The US Permanent Representative to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, dismissed criticism from her Russian colleague. At Friday’s UN Security Council meeting, she said Russia’s food exports are at pre-war levels.
“When we hear the Russian authorities’ claims that they face obstacles in exporting fertilizer and food, the statistics show that this is not the case.”
The US government has made extraordinary efforts to inform governments and private companies about exemptions from sanctions against Russia in the agricultural sector. It’s not the sanctions.
more on the subject – British farmers call on government to take control of food production