JCC says parties to Ukrainian grain export deal fail to agree on navigation
There is no agreement on the movement of ships within the framework of the "grain agreement" on October 30 (Photo:REUTERS / Anna Voitenko)
Russia has withdrawn from a UN-brokered “grain initiative” that saw a number of Ukrainian ports de-blockaded for grain shipments, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported on Oct. 30, citing the Joint Coordination Center (JCC).
The JCC was established by the UN to oversee the Black Sea Initiative, which facilitated the movement of commercial vessels from Ukrainian ports.
“The JCC is probing into the current situation, assessing the consequences for the JCC’s activities and discussing the next steps,” it said.
It is noted that “no common agreement has been reached on the movement of departing and arriving vessels” as of Oct. 30.
UN Coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative Amir Mahmoud Abdulla “brought to the attention of the center’s Turkish and Ukrainian delegations” a message received from the Russian delegation regarding the suspension of participation in the Black Sea grain initiative.
The JCC clarified that now more than 10 ships entering and leaving Ukrainian ports are waiting for the opportunity to travel through the corridor established by the grain initiative.
“Nine vessels (five departing and four arriving ones) safely passed through the maritime humanitarian corridor on Oct. 29,” the JCC said.
The Russian government has blamed a drone attack on Russian military naval vessels docked in the Sevastopol Bay for disrupting the agreement. They have falsely accused Ukraine and the UK for targeting civilian vessels “involved in ensuring the security of the grain corridor.”
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry and the Office of the President called Moscow’s actions “food blackmail” and emphasized that Russia was withdrawing from the agreement under a false pretext.
Ukraine’s Infrastructure Ministry emphasized that Ukraine is ready to continue operating with the framework of the grain initiative.
Meanwhile, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russia’s decision to disrupt the “grain initiative” requires a tough reaction at the United Nations and other levels, including the G20.
In turn, the United Nations urged “all parties” to refrain from any actions that could jeopardize the implementation of the agreement, adding they were in contact with the Russian authorities.
Explosions in Sevastopol Bay: What is known?
Explosions rocked Ukraine’s Russian-occupied city of Sevastopol in Crimea early on Oct. 29. Kremlin puppets in Russia-occupied Sevastopol’s administration and the Russian Defense Ministry announced a “drone attack” in the waters of the Sevastopol Bay, allegedly repelled by Russian ships.
At first, they said that “no objects in the city were hit,” and “the situation is under control.”
However, the Russian Defense Ministry later announced there had been allegedly “minor damage” caused to Russia’s minesweeper Ivan Golubets as a result of a “drone attack” in Sevastopol.
At the same time, local media reported about the damage to the Admiral Makarov frigate, which is a carrier of cruise missiles and was repeatedly used for shelling Ukraine. In particular, they report damage to the radar system on the frigate and a “hole in the minesweeper.”
Ukraine’s Operational Command South said the explosions in Sevastopol could have been caused by unsuccessful launches of anti-aircraft missiles. However, there is currently no official confirmation of the destruction of Russian ships in Sevastopol.
The Russians claim the attack was allegedly masterminded “under the leadership of British specialists who are in the town of Ochakiv in Mykolayiv Oblast.”
The UK’s Ministry of Defence has rejected Russian accusations of involvement in the explosions in the Sevastopol Bay. The ministry called such accusations “false claims of an epic scale.”
Grain deal: What is known
Ukraine, Turkey, and the United Nations signed a deal in Istanbul on July 22 to partially lift the blockade of the Ukrainian sea ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi for the export of Ukrainian grain. Russia also signed a mirror deal with Turkey and the United Nations.
A Joint Coordination Center was established in Turkey for the implementation of the agreement, while inspection teams from representatives of all parties check cargo and personnel, in particular for the presence of weapons.
Control over the sea ports remains with the Ukrainian side: no ships, except those that ensure the export of grain and related products, can enter Ukrainian ports.
According to the deal, “all activities in Ukrainian territorial waters are carried out under the authority and responsibility of Ukraine,” and no warships, planes, and drones “can approach the humanitarian corridor.”
The grain corridor started operating on Aug. 1, when the first ship with grain left the Odesa sea port without encountering Russian military resistance.
The grain deal was intended to stay valid until Nov. 22, 2022, with an expected prolongation after that.
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