Russia has destroyed almost 300,000 tonnes of grain since July in attacks on Ukrainian ports and on ships, the Ukrainian government said on Friday October 13th.
It was in July this year that Russia declined to renew the July 2022 UN/Turkiye-brokered deal between Ukraine and Russia that for 12 months allowed Ukrainian grain to be exported from three Black Sea ports to Istanbul and then beyond. Since then Russian forces have hit six civilian ships and 150 port and grain facilities during 17 attacks, Ukraine Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said, adding that “this is Russia’s attempt to deepen the food crisis in the countries which depend on Ukrainian products”.
He said that the damage to Ukrainian ports, both on the Black Sea and the River Danube, had reduced the country’s grain export potential by 40%. Kubrakov said that 21 grain-loaded vessels so far used the new unilateral Ukrainian “humanitarian” grain corridor in the Black Sea. That corridor runs far closer to the coast than the previous corridor, getting it into the NATO waters of Romania and Bulgaria as quickly as possible. Despite Russia saying that any vessel plying this route would be treated as a potentially military vessel, not attack has occurred and an uneasy stalemate seems to be in place. Russia has instead chosen to attack the port facilities.
Kubrakov said that, under the now dead Black Sea Grain Initiative, Ukraine had exported 33m tonnes of grain. He claimed that 60% of this had been shipped to African and Asian countries, but Russia had asserted that a majority had been shipped to the “first World”, mainly in the EU.