The Black Sea Grain Deal's Purpose
The Black Sea grain deal, an initiative by the United Nations, aims to alleviate a food crisis before the Russian invasion of Ukraine but has worsened due to the deadliest European war since World War Two.
Deal Participants and Export Routes
Signed by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the UN, the deal allows food and fertilizer exports, including ammonia, from Ukraine's Black Sea ports, such as Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Yuzhny/Pivdennyi.
Obstacles to Russian Exports
Though the West has not sanctioned Russia's food and fertilizer exports, Moscow claims they are hindered by obstacles like insurance and payment issues, which must be removed.
Lavrov's Statement on Export Alternatives
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that if the West did not address UN Secretary-General António Guterres's intentions with the deal, Ukraine would have to use land and river routes for export.
Moscow's Plan to Work Around the Deal
Lavrov said that if the West persisted in hindering Russian exports, Moscow would work around the grain deal, collaborating with Turkey and Qatar, as discussed by their respective presidents.
Agricultural Importance of Russia and Ukraine
Both Russia and Ukraine are major global agricultural commodity producers, contributing significantly to wheat, barley, maize, rapeseed, rapeseed oil, sunflower seed, and sunflower oil markets. Russia also dominates the fertilizer market.
Russia's 2023 Grain Harvest Plan
On Friday, Russia's agriculture ministry set its 2023 grain harvest plan at 120 million tonnes, according to Interfax's report on a draft declaration.
Extensions and Demands for the Grain Deal
The 120-day grain deal has been extended twice since its signing. Russia asserts that any further extensions must meet its demands, such as reconnecting the Russian Agricultural Bank to the SWIFT payment system and lifting restrictions on insurance, among others.