Grain deal to go on despite Russia’s protestations, Ukraine’s ambassador in Turkey says

31 October 2022, 11:30 PM
Cargo ship waiting for inspection for entry into the Bosphorus Strait, 31 October 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

Cargo ship waiting for inspection for entry into the Bosphorus Strait, 31 October 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

The joint Ukraine-Turkey-UN grain export agreement continues to work, despite Russia “suspending” its participation, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Turkey, Vasyl Bodnar, told Ukrainian TV broadcasters on Oct. 31.

“A decision has been made for the mediators (Turkey and the UN) to proceed with the inspection of ships (entering and leaving Ukrainian ports),” said Bodnar.

“Usually, four parties (including Russia) gave consent to the passage of ships…; now two mediators suggested they will conduct the inspections. We agreed with this approach, and the Russians were informed of it. Nobody is asking the Russians anymore, but there is an attempt to bring them back to the negotiating table.”

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According to the diplomat, Russia was attempting to slow down and stall the inspection of ships, since late September. Currently, there are more than 170 ships waiting to be inspected. Bodnar said Russia hopes to benefit from the lockdown by extracting concessions from Ukraine, in exchange for re-engaging with the grain export mechanism. Bodnar also suggested that Russia is going to “bargain” for the export of its own grain and mineral fertilizers.

The ambassador noted that Russia could attempt to stop or interfere with the passage of ships. He clarified that this would be a direct violation of the agreement which will lead to “appropriate consequences.”

On Oct. 29, Russia announced that it was suspending its participation in the “grain deal,” citing the drone attack on Sevastopol Bay in occupied Crimea, suggesting that Ukraine and the UK are to blame.

Open-source intelligence community GeoConfirmed established that drones hit at least three ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, including the flagship, Admiral Makarov. There is no official confirmation that any Russian ships were sunk.

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