The United Nations has expressed concern over the impending expiry of the Ukrainian grain export agreement. “There is no doubt that we are concerned,” said the director of the UN World Trade and Development Conference (UNCTAD), Rebeca Grynspan, on Wednesday in Geneva. After all, the grain agreement signed by Ukraine and Russia is “very important for food security and for developing countries in the Global South”. UN Secretary-General António Guterres had already expressed his concern.
The agreement was signed in July 2022, mediated by the UN and Turkey, to allow Ukrainian grain to be safely exported through a Black Sea protection corridor. This is intended to mitigate the effects of the Russian war of aggression on the global food supply. Unctad was instrumental in bringing about the agreement, which has already been extended three times. The agreement expires on July 17 without being renewed.
According to Grynspan, a Russian delegation came to Geneva for this reason. The UN also plans to send a delegation to Moscow “in the days that we have left.” The UNCTAD boss assured that the United Nations “remains determined to do everything in its power” to get the grain agreement.
However, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that there was “no reason” to extend the agreement again. Previously, Moscow had repeatedly complained that the agreement reached parallel to the grain agreement, according to which Russia was allowed to export fertilizer and food despite sanctions, was not being complied with.
For its part, Ukraine accuses Russia of stopping the registration of Ukrainian ships since June 26, thereby stalling the implementation of the agreement. So far, on the basis of the grain agreement, a good 32 million tons have been exported from Ukraine on ships.