Ukraine says “global pressure” needed on Russia to keep grain deal going

Ukraine appears to becoming increasingly concerned that Russia is not bluffing this time when it says that it could walk away from the Black Sea Corridor grain deal when it expires on May 18th.

Ukraine backed a proposal by UN secretary general Antonio Guterres on improving and extending the deal, but said that this could only succeed if the international community collectively pressures Russia, senior Ukrainian Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said on Tuesday  April 25th.

In a letter to Russia’s President Putin, Guterres had set out proposals for a “way forward aimed at the improvement, extension and expansion”. Podolyak said that “Guterres’ absolutely justified initiative can succeed only if the international community collectively pressures Russia”, adding that “Ukraine, on the other hand, will continue to follow the agreements with Turkey and the UN and will continue to deliver grain cargoes to their destination, solving the problem of global food supply”.

Russia meanwhile said on Tuesday that any global shortfall in food supplies was not primarily attributable to a lack of Russian and Ukrainian grain on the market. It also restated its position that provisions relating to Russian grain exports had not been properly implemented.

While Russia insists that exports of its own non-sanctioned goods, particularly fertilizer, be made less difficult by the G7 and EU, Ukraine’s reliance on international cooperation to pressurize Russia has to face up to the fact that, outside the G7 and EU, most countries feel that the Black Sea Corridor deal has mainly been to the benefit of the west rather than Asia or the global south.