On the 19th, the United Nations and Russia and Ukraine, respectively, confirmed that after a two-day suspension, boarding inspections of grain ships in the Black Sea resumed on the same day. However, Russia and Ukraine are still accusing each other of “creating difficulties”, and negotiations on extending the agreement on the export of agricultural products from Black Sea ports have still not progressed.
Ismini Parra, a spokesperson for the United Nations Office for Coordinating the Black Sea Food Transport Agreement, said on the 19th that after two days of consultations, with the agreement of Russia and Ukraine, the personnel of the Joint Coordination Centre have started work. The Russian , a Ukrainian sides respectively confirmed that the boarding inspection had resumed that day. Earlier this week, UN spokesman Dujarric announced the suspension of inspections, citing the need for more time for all parties to agree on operational priorities. The Russian side and the Ukrainian side subsequently identified each other as suspending inspections.
On the 19th, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zakharova said in a statement that the Joint Coordination Centre is currently facing difficulties in registering and inspecting new grain ships because Ukraine “abuses the procedures stipulated in the agreement” and “complains to the ship owner of soliciting bribes”. Moreover, Ukraine is “hostile” to Russia’s proposal to increase grain transport ships to African countries. According to the Russian side, Uzbekistan stopped the boarding and inspection of 27 grain ships carrying 1.2 million tonnes of cargo.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Kubrakov said on the 19th that Russia was “trying to break the agreement” and that Russia suspended the inspection of the grain ship. Kubrakov is currently in Turkey to discuss the extension of the Black Sea grain agreement. On the same day, Ukrainian Minister of Agricultural Policy and Food Solsky said that relevant parties are still negotiating on the extension of the agreement and that there may not be a breakthrough in the near future. He did not disclose the details of the negotiations, only appealing to the outside world to give the negotiations some time.
On July 22, 2022, Russia and Ukraine signed relevant agreements with Turkey and the United Nations on the export of agricultural products from Black Sea ports in Istanbul, Turkey. The agreement is valid for 120 days. Afterwards, relevant parties agreed to extend the agreement twice, for 120 days and 60 days, respectively, and the validity period will end on May 18, 2023. However, the Russian side has repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with the implementation of the Russia-related part of the agreement, pointing out that the export of Russian crops and fertilisers is still hindered by Western sanctions.