Ukraine says Russia has blocked full grain shipping capacity

Ukraine said on Monday October 24th that seven vessels sailed from its ports on Sunday, carrying grain bound for Asia and Europe, but continued to assert that Russia was blocking the full implementation of Black Sea grain deal.

“Russia is deliberately blocking the full realization of the Black Sea Corridor grain initiative.

Ukraine’s Infrastructure Ministry said that in the past few days its ports were working only at 25% to 30% of their capacity.

Ukraine has called for the renewal of the July-brokered deal that is scheduled to run for 120 days before a hoped-for renewal, but there were concerns over whether Russia would agree to an extension beyond the November 19th expiry date.

Russia last week delivered a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres setting out a list of complaints.

The seven ships that left on Sunday were carrying a total of 124,300 tonnes of foodstuffs. They departed from the three ports – Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi – that were part of the Black Sea Corridor agreement.

Since the first ships departed at the beginning of August – some of which had been locked in since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24th – there have been no incidents of attacks on the merchant shipping travelling from the ports to the northern coast of Turkey, near to Istanbul, where the vessels are inspected by the Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Centre.

Since August 1st there have been 380 vessels that have left the Ukrainian ports, carrying 8.5m tonnes of foodstuffs. A key Russian complaint is that far to many of the cargoes have headed for Europe, rather than for developing nations, as Russia claimed it had been promised.