- The Russian government has terminated its participation in a deal that allows Ukrainian ships carrying grain to leave without being attacked
- Russia said the deal would no longer hold until certain conditions, which include lifting sanctions against its agricultural bank, are met.
- Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former Minister of Finance and Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said poor countries would suffer
On Monday, July 17, 2023, the Russian government ended its participation in a deal allowing the export of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea despite the war.
Known as the Black Seal Grain Initiative and brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, the initiative was established in July 2022 to reduce a global food crisis after Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.
Russia gives tough conditions
Ukraine is a significant and critical grain exporter alongside Russia, a neighboring country.
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The deal guaranteed that ships wouldn’t be attacked while entering and leaving Ukrainian ports.
The Black Sea deal was essential to keeping the food from Ukraine to the rest of the world, especially African countries, the Middle East, and Asia.
A spokesman for the Russian President, Dmitry Peskov, said the deal has stopped and Russia would no longer corporate with the agreement.
“The Black Sea agreements ceased to be valid today. As the President of the Russian Federation said earlier, the deadline is July 17. Unfortunately, the part relating to Russia in this Black Sea agreement has not been implemented so far. Therefore, its effect is terminated,” Peskov said.
According to Peskov, the deal would be suspended until the implementation of Russia’s conditions, which include lifting sanctions imposed against its agricultural bank and resuming the export of Russian grain and fertilizer.
“When the part of the Black Sea deal related to Russia is implemented, Russia will immediately return to the implementation of the deal,” he said.
TheCable reports that Nigeria imported 51% of its wheat from Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, and other Baltic countries in 2021.
Wheat from Russia and Ukraine, and other Black countries are reportedly the cheapest option for many milling companies in Nigeria.
Okonjo-Iweala expresses disappointment
The World Food Programme (FAO) said that at the beginning of the Black Sea deal, global food prices almost dropped 9%.
Meanwhile, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), expressed disappointment at Russia’s ending its participation in the Black Sea Initiative.
Okonjo-Iweala tweeted on Monday, July 17, 2023, and expressed disgust at Russia’s latest steps.
“Deeply disappointed at the termination of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the interruption of the grain trade from Ukraine. I share UN SG at Antonio Guterres’ regret and concern."
“Black Sea trade in food, feed & fertilizer is critical to the stability of global food prices. Sad to say that poor people & poor countries are hardest hit. Let’s keep hope alive on renewal.”
Nigeria to receive 25,000 tonnes of grain through Grain from Ukraine Initiative
Legit.ng reported that the government of Ukraine has announced its decision to send 25,000 tonnes of grain to Nigeria under the Grain from the Ukraine Initiative.
The development was announced by Mykola Solskyi, the Ukrainian minister of agrarian policy and food, during a meeting with Nigeria's ministers of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama and agriculture and rural development, Mohammad Abubakar, the Ukraine government announced on its official website.
According to the statement, the meeting was held when the delegation visited the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine to Africa.