Although it is seeking UN sanction, Ukraine has said that it is ready for grain shipments to travel through its waters. The announcement that the broker Marsh and the insurer Ascot of Lloyd’s of London had begun providing maritime cargo and war insurance for grain and food goods leaving Black Sea ports further removed a hurdle to beginning shipments.
Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s minister of infrastructure, said in Odesa, next to a ship that has been trapped since the invasion but is now preparing to leave, “We hope to receive approval today from the UN verifying the corridors we have requested the ships transit in the Black Sea.”
He added, “We anticipate seeing the first ship depart our ports by the end of this week. After [receiving approval], we are prepared to start.
Under the terms of the grain agreement, the UN and Turkey ensured the secure transit of ships carrying urgently required grain from Ukraine. Russian military blockaded Ukraine’s ports in February as part of Moscow’s effort to seize control of the country, causing a global grain shortage that has pushed several countries toward famine.
Ukraine mined the waters near its shore to protect itself from a Russian maritime strike. The ships will therefore need to exercise extra caution when leaving the ports. It now depended, Kubrakov stated, on how the UN and Turkey assisted in mediating the accord, as “we have practically all the technical problems [on our side] answered; we have provided the UN some possibilities.”
Russia launched two missiles into the port of Odesa on Saturday, less than a day after the pact was reached, outraging the international community and casting doubt on the viability of the grain arrangement.
On Friday in Odessa, the G7 ambassadors to Ukraine, along with UN and EU representatives, expressed their hope that despite the attacks, Russia will fulfil its end of the bargain. The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, travelled to the port of Chornomorsk in the southern Odessa region to meet with the delegates and take a look at the shipping preparations.
The UK was not involved in the deal or its execution, according to Melinda Simmons, the British ambassador to Ukraine, but it had been helping to secure commercial insurance for the ships from firms in London. There had been a change, according to the notice from Ascot.
Simmons claims that although the attack on last Saturday scared insurance companies, they shouldn’t give up. The most crucial thing is to not be terrified of Russia’s actions, which are only strategies to stop this. Export experts said this week that insuring the ships will be one of Ukraine’s biggest future concerns.
Simmons claims that the UK is also helping Ukraine figure out how much grain Russia has taken from its occupied territories. Russia could export grain from the Ukrainian region it controls, and this argument is only gaining stronger.
“Millions of people throughout the world are waiting for grain to flow out of this and other Ukrainian ports,” said Bridget Brink, the US ambassador to Ukraine. “The Russians struck a pact with the UN and Turkey a week ago… Russia demolished this port 24 hours later.
“I hope there is a deal later this morning,” said Brink. “The US and the rest of the world will be counting on Russia to stand up and implement its agreements.” Ukraine currently exports almost 2.5 million tonnes annually as opposed to just 0.3 tonnes in March, claimed Rémi Duflot, deputy director of the EU delegation to Ukraine, who was present at the port.
6–8 million tonnes were exported by Ukraine in the months leading up to the war. Since its Black Sea ports were blockaded, Ukraine has been shipping its grain via the Danube and its rail infrastructure.
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