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UGA calls on the international community to restore free navigation in the Black Sea

17 February 20233 min reading

The Ukrainian Grain Association calls on the international community, Turkey and the UN to counteract Russia’s seizure of the Black Sea and its restrictions on navigation for other countries.

“The UGA considers it necessary to emphasize that the Black Sea is not Russia’s internal sea, where it can dictate navigation requirements to other countries. Russia’s deliberate actions to delay inspections of vessels sailing to Ukrainian ports to load grain and other food products under the Black Sea Grain Initiative to supply countries in desperate need demonstrate Russia’s true intentions – to continue destabilizing the world’s food security and turning food into a weapon,” Ukrainian association said in a press release.

Russia’s delays in inspecting ships in the Bosphorus have created a queue of more than 140 vessels, the vast majority of which have been waiting for their turn for more than a month. The food security of countries that depend on Ukrainian food exports is under threat. First and foremost, the countries of Africa and Asia will receive less food due to Russia’s actions.

The unblocking of the Ukrainian ports of Chornomorsk, Pivdennyi, and Odesa as part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative has significantly improved the humanitarian situation around the world, particularly in Africa and Asia, and reduced food shortages and grain prices. Thus, as of February 15, 2023,  741 vessels sailed from Ukraine to the countries of Asia, Africa and Europe via the Grain Corridor with a total export volume of 21.3 mmt of grains and oilseeds, as well as their processed products.

The UGA fully supports the joint statement of the Vice Prime Minister for Reconstruction of Ukraine – Minister of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development Oleksandr Kubrakov and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba regarding the obstruction of navigation in the Black Sea by Russia.

“However, the UGA emphasizes that the involvement of the Russian side in inspections of ships sailing to Ukrainian ports (which it deliberately and intentionally delays) and the absence of inspections of ships sailing from Russian ports in the Azov-Black Sea basin is nothing more than rewarding the aggressor and restricting navigation in international waters of the Black Sea in its favor. After all, despite its aggression, attacks on Ukrainian ports and restrictions on shipping to Ukrainian ports, Russia continues to enjoy the possibility of unimpeded commercial shipping from Russian Black Sea ports. Moreover, as Ukrainian officials mentioned in their statement, there is no inspection of Russian vessels in the Bosphorus, which makes it possible for Russia to use merchant ships to transport military cargo to continue the war against Ukraine and blackmail other states.”

The UGA calls on the international community, the UN and Turkey not only to demand that Russia stop delaying the movement of ships within the Black Sea Grain Initiative and stop using food as a weapon, but also to start working to restore free navigation in the Black Sea for all countries, including free trade navigation to Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

Ensuring free trade navigation to Ukrainian Black Sea ports will allow the world:

–  to prevent the deepening of the food crisis and the resumption of food price growth, and as a result, the acceleration of food inflation.

– to ensure stability for the Ukrainian agricultural sector – the possibility of selling the crop and generating income for a continuous production cycle in order to guarantee harvests in the coming years.

– to prevent political instability in Africa and Asia, which could provoke a new wave of mass migration to the developed countries of the West and destabilize Europe economically, socially and politically.


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