The relevant statement was made by Ukrainian Infrastructure Deputy Minister Yurii Vaskov in an interview with Reuters, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
“We hope that no later than next week from our partners Turkey and the UN we will have an understanding and the whole market will also have a clear signal about the further functioning and continuation of the initiative,” Vaskov said.
The deal, which eased a global food crisis by unblocking three major Ukrainian ports during Russia’s invasion, expires on November 19.
According to Vaskov, the Ukrainian side offered an extension of at least one year to Turkey and UN, as well as a broadening of the deal to include the ports of the southern Mykolaiv region, which provided 35% of Ukrainian food exports before Russia’s invasion.
Additionally, Ukraine demanded that mandatory inspections of ships that are involved in food transportation be “streamlined”, as Kyiv believes Russia is deliberately slowing down inspections to reduce the speed of exports.
“We are already ... demanding inspections be streamlined or inspections of departed (ships) be cancelled, because it makes no sense. Or else increase the number of inspection teams,” Vaskov noted.
In his words, inspectors of the Joint Coordination Center that oversees the deal conducted only 12 inspections per day, but that it was necessary to make 25-30 inspections.
“When Turkey and the UN did their own inspections, they proved it was possible to carry out more than 40 inspections a day. Now that Russia has returned ... we again have a total of 12 inspections per day. They do not explain (the reason for the delays), but they also do not hide that they are doing this in order to complicate the work of the corridor,” Vaskov told.
Vaskov said neither the UN nor Turkey had informed Kyiv about the conditions for extending the agreement put forward by Russia.
Moscow has said it has received guarantees the grain corridor will not be used for military purposes. The UN has said that it would continue working on easier conditions for the export of the Russian fertilizers.
According to Vaskov, Kyiv advocated the exclusively peaceful use of the grain corridor, and that the current agreement involved the export of fertilizers. However, so far there had not been a single application from ships wishing to transport ammonia from Ukrainian ports.
“Ukraine has confirmed and confirms now that the grain corridor is only for ships that take part in the initiative – both in the past and in the future,” Vaskov stressed.
A reminder that the Black Sea Grain Initiative was signed by Ukraine, Turkey, the United Nations and Russia for a period of 180 days on July 22, 2022.
On October 29, 2022, Russia announced its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative. allegedly due to drone attacks on Russian warships at the Bay of Sevastopol. Despite Russia’s statement, the movement of vessels via the ‘grain corridor’ continued.
On November 2, 2022, it was announced that Russia had resumed participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative.