This is underscored in the joint statement by Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba and Deputy Prime Minister for Restoration of Ukraine – Minister for Communities, Territories, and Infrastructure Development of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“Ukraine is deeply concerned about the destructive actions of the Russian Federation, which result in the delay of the work of the Black Sea grain corridor, obstructing the Black Sea Grain Initiative in general, shipping in the Black Sea and free access of food to world markets,” the Ukrainian officials say.
It is underscored that Russian representatives as part of inspection teams at the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul have systematically, for several months in a row, been delaying the inspection of vessels that are heading through the Bosporus Strait from/to Ukrainian ports. Besides that, Russian inspectors intentionally slow down the terms of inspections. They often demand unregulated documentation, refuse to work during working hours, and look for other groundless reasons to stop the inspection. Every day only half of the planned 10 inspections take place.
“Such a destructive Russian policy has resulted in a systematic decrease of the freight turnover within the Grain initiative. Only during the last three months the world received less than 10 million tonnes of Ukrainian food and this negative trend is gaining momentum. Due to the delay in inspections by Russia, the query of more than 140 vessels was formed in Bosporus, the vast majority of which have been waiting there for more than a month. The food security of countries that depend on the export of Ukrainian agricultural products is under threat. First of all, due to Russia's actions, the countries of the Global South, in particular Africa and Asia, have food shortages,” reads the statement.
The ministers note that Moscow is using the opportunity of unobstructed shipping from Russian Black Sea ports by ruining the port infrastructure of Ukraine, creating security risks for Southern regions of Ukraine from the Black Sea, and interfering in the work of the Black Sea Grain corridor. According to the officials’ data, the traffic volume through Russian seaports in the Azov and Black seas has reached more than 250 million tons in 2022, which surpassed the indicators of 2021. At the same time, inspections of these vessels in the Bosporus are not held. All that makes it possible for Russia to use its commercial vessels for receiving military goods in order to continue the war against Ukraine.
“We call on the international community, in particular the UN and Türkiye as guarantors of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, to demand from the Russian Federation to stop immediately the delays in the work of the Black Sea grain corridor, to stop Russia’s attempts to use food as a weapon and to unblock commercial navigation to the Ukrainian Black Sea ports,” the Government officials state.
As reported, the agreement on the Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea was concluded between Ukraine, Turkey, the UN and between Turkey, the UN, and Russia on July 22, 2022 for a period of 180 days and later was extended for the same period.