Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea resumed Wednesday after a one-day halt amid tensions over Russian demands to improve its ability to export fertilizer, according to a United Nations spokesman.
All ships loaded with Ukrainian wheat, corn and other commodities must be inspected in the Bosporus Strait by the Joint Coordination Center, made up of Ukrainian, Turkish, Russian and United Nations personnel.
“According to our colleagues at the JCC, routine inspections under the Black Sea Grain Initiative were conducted today following intensive discussions within the framework of the JCC – supported obviously by ourselves and Turkey,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Ukrainian officials blamed Russian inspectors for refusing to allow inspections Tuesday, according to Yuri Vaskov, deputy head of Ukraine’s Ministry of Recovery, who spoke to The Guardian.
“Russia is violating the conditions of the Black Sea grain initiative,” Vaskov told The Guardian.
Dujarric would not comment directly on why inspections stopped on Tuesday, but he did stress that the UN is doing its best to ensure Russia’s demands on fertilizer exports and other issues are met.
Russia has also been demanding that international sanctions be lifted on banks like the Russian Agricultural Bank, or Rosselkhozbank, and they be allowed to participate in the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, a system that allows for international transactions.
Don’t miss a beat! It’s easy to sign up for a FREE month of Agri-Pulse news! For the latest on what’s happening in Washington, D.C. and around the country in agriculture, just click here.
“Obviously, the fact that a number of Russian financial institutions are not … in the SWIFT system makes things more complicated and we are in discussions with the people who are responsible for SWIFT and the Europeans and others.”
But the UN has no control over the banking network or sanctions imposed by individual countries, Dujarric said.
“There are some issues on which we have power … but this is not one of them,” he said.Adding to the tension,Russia continues to insist that on March 18 it only approved the renewal of the Black Sea Grain Initiative for 60 days. Ukrainian, Turkish and UN officials say the initiative was renewed for the traditional 120-day-period.
For more news, go to www.Agri-Pulse.com.