Russia warns it may block ships with Ukraine grain

Oct 31, 2022, 2:24 AM | Updated: 2:33 pm

Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator...

Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, speaks about the situation of grain shipments from Ukraine following a Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters, Monday, Oct. 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia’s U.N. ambassador accused Ukraine of using the Black Sea shipping corridor to get grain to world markets “for military and sabotage purposes” against its fleet on Monday, saying this is why it suspended implementation of the deal and warning that it will not allow the unimpeded passage of vessels without its consent which is currently taking place.

Vassily Nebenzia told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council called by Russia that “the Black Sea remains an area of hostilities” and “we cannot allow an unimpeded passage of vessels without our inspection.” He said Russia will “undertake our own measures” to control the ongoing ship movements but gave no details.

Nebenzia accused Ukraine, with help from the West, especially the United Kingdom, of carrying out “massive aviation and sea strikes” on Russia’s Black Sea fleet and infrastructure in Sevastopol in the early morning hours of Oct. 29, “under the cover of the humanitarian grain corridor” which was established under the July 22 gain deal. As a result, “the Russian side cannot guarantee the safety of civilian vessels participating in the Black Seat Initiative,” he said.

Under the Black Sea Initiative, a Joint Coordination Center in Turkey was established to control and inspect ships heading to load Ukrainian ships from three Black Sea ports and fully loaded vessels en route to world markets. It comprises representatives from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations.

U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths rejected Nebenzia’s claim that the Oct. 29 attack violated the Black Sea Initiative, saying the shipping corridor for civilian vessels protecting ships participating in the grain deal “is not open at 4 a.m.” and only operates “when ships move down the corridor.”

He said the U.N. remains “very actively engaged” with Russian members of the Joint Coordination Center and he reiterated several times that Moscow’s concerns about the Oct. 29 attack should be investigated by its experts, as have other reported breaches of the initiative.

Griffiths, who is a lawyer, told reporters after the council meeting that Russia has not withdrawn from the initiative and therefore remains bound by the July 22 grain deal despite its suspension of participation. Under the agreement, he stressed that signatories are obliged “not to attack ships, or movements, or relevant port facilities.”

Therefore, he said, the U.N., Turkey and Ukraine are able to continue inspecting outbound ships and will continue to do so.

Griffiths said there are 86 outbound ships that have left Ukraine ports and have gone to the Bosphorous where they await inspection in what he called “a maritime traffic jam,” and they are carrying nearly 2 million tons, which is part of the 9 million tons. In addition, there are 12 ships in Ukrainian ports loaded and ready to leave, and five ships in the Bosphorous that have been inspected by all four parties that are ready to movr into the Ukraine ports to pick up cargo, he said.

The deal to export Ukrainian grain lasts for 120 days and will be automatically extended on Nov. 18 if there are no objections.

“I believe the Black Sea Grain Initiative is going to be renewed,” Griffiths said. “I believe in that and we are going to make sure of it. We’re going to do everything we can between now and Nov. 18 to do so. And we will not let this get in our way.”

But whether Russia ends its suspension and returns to active support of the deal remains to be seen.

Nebenzia said last week that first “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.”

Grynspan, the secretary-general of the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development, told the Security Council Monday that the grain agreements have had a major impact: wheat exports from Russia tripled between July and September while wheat exports from Ukraine more than quadrupled, resulting in lower food prices.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index has declined for six months, by about 16%, and according to World Bank models “this decline may have prevented over 100 million people from falling into poverty,” she said. But uncertainty over continuation of the Ukraine deal saw wheat futures rise by over 6% on Monday.

In addition, Grynspan said, fertilizer prices are still 2 ½ times their 2019 levels, leading to the inability of farmers especially in Africa to use fertilizer, lowering lowers crop production at the next harvest.

“Due to this, we know that today’s crisis of affordability may become tomorrow’s crisis of availability and a crisis of huge proportions,” she warned.

There are no sanctions on exporting food and fertilizer but Grynspan said the U.N. has been working to overcome “the chilling effect” of the sanctions on the private sector — “overcompliance, reputational risks and market avoidance.”

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


Seattle non-profits...

Associated Press

Oregon man convicted of murder in fatal shooting of sheriff’s deputy in Washington state

A jury has convicted an Oregon man of murder in the fatal shooting of a sheriff’s deputy in Washington state.

16 hours ago

Image: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd during a campaign rally on Monday, Sept...

Associated Press

Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers while building real estate empire

A judge ruled Tuesday that Donald Trump committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House.

1 day ago

FILE - The Amazon logo is displayed, Sept. 6, 2012, in Santa Monica, Calif. Amazon's profitable clo...

Haleluya Hadero, Associated Press

Amazon sued by FTC and 17 states over allegations it inflates online prices and overcharges sellers

The FTC filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon on Tuesday, alleging the e-commerce behemoth uses its position in the marketplace to inflate prices

2 days ago

KYIV, UKRAINE - 2022/09/03: A man looks at an image generated based on the stories of displaced chi...

Associated Press

Tech companies try to take AI image generators mainstream with better protections against misuse

Artificial intelligence tools that can conjure whimsical artwork or realistic-looking images from written commands started wowing the public last year. But most people don't actually use them at work or home.

2 days ago

Image: Actor David McCallum attends an event for "NCIS" during the 2009 Monte Carlo Television Fest...

Associated Press

David McCallum, star of hit series ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ and ‘NCIS,’ dies at 90

Actor David McCallum, who was the eccentric medical examiner in the popular "NCIS," has died. He was 90.

2 days ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests indicating a positive result are photographed in New York, April...

Associated Press

Biden administration announces $600M to produce and distribute COVID tests

The Biden administration announced Wednesday that it is providing $600 million in funding to produce new at-home COVID-19 tests and is restarting a website allowing Americans to again order up to four free tests per household

3 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.

Russia warns it may block ships with Ukraine grain