UN optimistic on Ukraine grain deal; Russia has reservations

Oct 26, 2022, 8:31 AM | Updated: 8:51 pm

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A senior U.N. official said Wednesday he is “relatively optimistic” the deal for returning Ukrainian grain and Russian grain and fertilizer to world markets will be extended beyond mid-November, but Russia’s U.N. ambassador said Moscow needs to see movement on its own exports first.

The deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July has led to more than 8.5 million metric tons of foodstuffs being shipped from three Black Sea ports in Ukraine.

But Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia told reporters that “Russia needs to see the export of its grain and fertilizers in the world market, which has never happened since the beginning of the deal.”

The deal has a 120-day limit. U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths, who has focused on the Ukraine side of the deal, and senior U.N. trade official Rebeca Grynspan, who has focused on the Russian side, were in Moscow earlier this month for talks with Russian officials including on an extension.

“We are keen to see that renewed promptly, now,” Griffiths said in response to a question. “It’s important for the market. It’s important for just continuity. And I’m still relatively optimistic that we’re going to get that. We’re working hard.”

Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine cut off shipments of grain and fertilizer from the two key world suppliers, causing food shortages and rising prices especially in developing countries.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres first raised the critical need to restart the supply of Ukraine’s agricultural production and Russia’s grain and fertilizer to world markets in late April during meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv.

Guterres then proposed the deal, pointing to fear that the war could further worsen hunger for up to 181 million people, particularly in poorer developing countries.

On the Ukraine side, the Joint Coordination Center overseeing the logistics and inspection of ships said Monday that there was a backlog — 113 ships registered for inspection and a further 60 vessels waiting to take on cargo.

It noted the next Ukrainian harvest is approaching and silos will soon be full again in the three ports — Odesa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny. The center said it has increased its inspection teams and is discussing ways to improve its operation.

Ukraine’s president on Saturday accused Russia of artificially creating a line of some 150 ships to slow down Ukrainian shipments.

Nebenzia said hurdles that need to be overcome for Russian grain and fertilizer to reach global markets remain the same as in July: getting insurance for vessels, conducting financial transactions, finding ports of call for Russian ships and freeing up fertilizer on ships detained at European ports that “we committed to distribute free of charge to countries in need.”

The fertilizer, he said, is slowly being “destroyed because these kinds of fertilizers cannot be kept indefinitely.”

“These are the main things which were there on the agenda a few months ago, and they still are the same,” Nebenzia said. “We recognize that the secretary-general and his team are trying to do their best to resolve those issues. But unfortunately, it’s not just on them that it depends upon.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Water spills over the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, which runs along the Washington and Ore...

Associated Press

Biden deal with tribes promises $200M for Columbia River salmon reintroduction

The Biden administration has pledged over $200 million toward reintroducing salmon in the Upper Columbia River Basin in an agreement with tribes that includes a stay on litigation for 20 years.

19 hours ago

FILE - Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for a vote on Capitol Hill, Sept. 6, 2023 in Washington. ...

Associated Press

Sen. Menendez, wife indicted on bribe charges as probe finds $100,000 in gold bars, prosecutors say

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and his wife have been indicted on charges of bribery.

22 hours ago

A man holds an iPhone next to an Amazon Echo, center, and a Google Home, right, in New York on June...

Associated Press

Amazon unveils a ‘smarter and more conversational’ Alexa amid AI race among tech companies

Amazon has unveiled a slew of gadgets and an update to its popular voice assistant Alexa, infusing it with more generative AI features to better compete with other tech companies who’ve rolled out flashy chatbots.

1 day ago


David Bauder, The Associated Press

Rupert Murdoch, whose creation of Fox News made him a force in American politics, is stepping down

Murdoch inherited a newspaper in Adelaide, Australia, from his father in 1952 and eventually built a news and entertainment enterprise.

2 days ago

FILE - United Auto Workers members walk a picket line during a strike at the Ford Motor Company Mic...

Associated Press

United Auto Workers threaten to expand targeted strike if there is no substantive progress by Friday

The United Auto Workers union is stepping up pressure on Detroit’s Big Three by threatening to expand its strike unless it sees major progress in contract negotiations by Friday.

3 days ago

FILE - The Amazon Prime logo appears on the side of a delivery van as it departs an Amazon Warehous...

Associated Press

Amazon plans to hire 250,000 workers for holiday season

Amazon said on Tuesday that it will hire 250,000 full- and part-time workers for the holiday season, a 67% jump compared to last year.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

UN optimistic on Ukraine grain deal; Russia has reservations