On 17 July 2023. the Russian government announced that it was pulling out of a deal to facilitate the export of millions of tons of grain from Ukrainian ports (Grain Deal). The arrangement had been in place since July 2022 and mitigated a global food crisis. Russia’s exit could again threaten food prices, and food insecurity, worldwide. On Wednesday, 19 July, wheat prices surged to some of the highest levels since the invasion in February 2022.
The Grain Deal allowed for exports of commercial food and fertilizer from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports: Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi (previously called Yuzhny). Teams representing all parties to the deal (Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the UN) would inspect ships going in and out of these ports, and once loaded with cargo, ships would take an established route, avoiding mined areas, through the Black Sea toward Istanbul (source: Vox.com).
Russia’s exit has triggered a lot of attention around the globe, also focussing on the question which options Ukraine still has. Further reading comprises, but is certainly not limited to:
- Aljazeera: As Russia exits grain deal, which countries will be affected?
- BBC: Wheat prices soar after Russia threatens ships
- CNN: Expert says these are Ukraine’s options after Putin pulls out of grain deal
- EURACTIV: Russia strikes Ukraine grain port after exiting export deal
- NPR: Russia’s nixing of Ukraine grain deal deepens worries about global food supply
- Reuters: Russia bombards Ukraine ports, threatens ships, jolting world grain markets
- The Conversation: Why Russia pulled out of its grain deal with Ukraine – and what that means for the global food system
- Vox: How bad will things get now that Russia has quit its grain deal with Ukraine?
Railfreight.com, citing Andrii Dykun, chairman of the Ukrainian Agri Council, reported in a news post (for premium members) that “rail via Moldova and barge services in the Danube will be the main export arteries for Ukrainian products. From September on, Ukraine-Poland rail services could also assist.“