Black Sea grain deal ship inspections resuming

Moscow says it agreed to extend the deal only until May 18
calendar icon 19 April 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Inspections of ships are resuming under a UN-brokered agreement on the safe export of grain from Ukrainian Black Sea ports, Reuters reported, citing Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov on Wednesday.

He wrote on Facebook that "ship inspections are being resumed, despite the RF's (Russian Federation's) attempts to disrupt the agreement."

The Russian news agency RIA said inspections had already resumed after two days of talks, citing the UN coordinator's press office.

Kubrakov is in Turkey to discuss the status of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which was agreed by Russia and Ukraine last July to help alleviate a global food crisis.

Moscow says it agreed to extend the deal only until May 18. Kyiv and the United Nations say the deal has another 60 days to run after then, and is seeking an agreement to ensure it continues.

Kyiv says Russian inspectors stopped letting through vessels supposed to ship grain from Ukraine.

Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky said on Wednesday Moscow was increasing difficulties for Ukraine at a time when three eastern European countries have banned imports of Ukrainian grain and food products.

"Obviously, the Russians could not fail to take advantage of these nuances on the western (Ukrainian) border," Solsky told reporters.

RIA quoted the Russian foreign ministry as on Wednesday as saying Ukraine and the United Nations were causing difficulties with the ship inspections.

Ukraine and Poland reached an agreement on Tuesday to unblock transit of Ukrainian grain from Friday, but the import bans remain in place in Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.

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