The Ukraine Report: Fate of the Black Sea Grain Deal is being made now

Uncertainty with the Black Sea Grain Deal has been looming for Ukrainian producers as well as the ag industry worldwide. What is Russia demanding and what is Russia offering?

Latifundist Media has partnered with us to provide boots-on-the-ground coverage:

120 or 60 days: the fate of the grain deal is determined these days

On Saturday, March 18, the second phase of the grain corridor expired. On the same day, the Deputy Prime Minister for the Restoration of Ukraine Oleksandr Kubrakov, announced that the agreement had been renewed for another 120 days.

Following this, the UN and Turkey made statements on the extension of the agreement.

However, the Russian Foreign Ministry declared its readiness to sign the agreement for 60 days only. For the first time, Russia officially announced a list of requirements for the prolongation of the agreement.

“If Washington, Brussels, and London are really interested in exporting food from Ukraine via the sea corridor, they have two months to withdraw from their sanctions the entire chain of operations supporting Russian agricultural exports.”

Besides lifting sanctions against Russian companies and unfreezing foreign assets, Russia is also asking for Rosselkhozbank to be reconnected to SWIFT and for the Togliatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline to be reopened.

In Ukraine, such demands are straightforwardly called blackmail.

“The 60 days announced by Russia is blackmail. All previous agreements had a 120-day period. Russia is blackmailing the world in its best traditions, trying to force negotiations as often as possible and demand preferences for itself.”

Ukrainian traders argue that a 60-day extension of the grain deal could stop purchases of Ukrainian grain.

Traditionally, a month before the end of the deal, trading activity decreases dramatically. This is related to the average 30-40 day queue in the grain corridor for one vessel.

Shota Khadzhishvili, co-owner of one of RISOIL’s largest grain terminals, reveals how this will affect their operations.

“We expect Panamaxes in April, which are already being chartered by our partners. We will process several vessels, and then it is impossible to foresee anything. Obviously, this is blackmail.”

Speaking of Russia’s conditions, it is worth mentioning Ukraine’s proposals for improving the grain corridor.

“This includes an expansion of the list of commodities exported via the grain corridor, an increase in the number of harbors allowed to export products from the Black Sea.”

That report was powered by Latifundist Media, with USAID support provided through Agriculture Growing Rural Opportunities (AGRO) Activity implemented in Ukraine by Chemonics International. For more information, visit their website or follow them on social media.