Putin threatens to quit Ukrainian grain shipping deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to pull out of the Black Sea safe passage corridor over the division in shipments between richer and poorer countries. He has claimed that Russia was lied to about the purpose of the agreement.

The Carnegie Endowment for Peace noted that this threat only followed new battlefield losses for Russia in the Kharkiv region, where Ukraine recently launched a successful counteroffensive. The feeling was that Putin was looking to leverage continued Russian compliance with the agreement to obtain concessions elsewhere.

Some 3.7m tonnes of grain have been shipped out of Ukraine via the Black Sea safe passage corridor since its implementation in early August, according to Ukrainian authorities.

The shipments include three vessels chartered by the UN World Food Progamme, carrying grain to developing nations in Africa and the Middle East. The UN-chartered bulker Ikaria Angel (IMO 9194397) left Ukraine on Friday September 16th, bound for Africa.

The vessel had around 30,000 tonnes of wheat on board, Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said on Saturday. The vessel is headed for Ethiopia.

However, the majority of shipments which have left Ukraine via the Black Sea corridor so far have gone to European markets; only 17% of total exports have been for Africa.

Shipments out of Ukraine picked up on Sunday September 18th with 10 vessels heading out to sea from Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdenny (Yuzhne). The three ports that can be used as part of the agreement between Russia and Ukraine, which was brokered in July by Turkey and the UN and which is overseen by a committee based in Istanbul. The vessels were carrying a total of about 170,000 tonnes of grain, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure. Previously, departures have generally averaged between four to six vessels a day.

Of some interest was the fact that one of the vessels making the outbound transit was a ro/ro freighter, a rare release of a non-bulk cargo vessel through the Russian blockade. While more than 50 ships remained trapped in Ukrainian ports, to date, only vessels carrying food cargoes have been permitted to leave.

1999-built, Panama-flagged, 27,011 gt Ikaria Angel is owned by Dassia Maritime Inc care of New Horizon Ship management SA of Piraeus, Greece. It is entered with West of England (Claims Team Greece) on behalf of Dassia Maritime Inc. As of September 19th the vessel was listed as Not Under Command in the Marmara Sea.