Russia: Extension of Participation in Black Sea Grain Initiative

As previously reported, the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative in March 2023 was subject to differing statements on the period of renewal. On 17 May 2023, it was confirmed (2) that the Russian Federation aligned its position with the other parties and will also continue its participation in the Black Sea Initiative for another 60 days. Ukraine welcomed ‘unblocking‘ of the agreement, following Ukraine’s previous objections (17 April 2023) to claimed interference in the inspection plan. On 15 May 2023, the UK likewise objected to delays and the blocking of vessel inspections, called for a sustained and stable deal, and “urge Russia to stop threatening to leave the initiative”. An update (8 May 2023) from the Office of the UN Coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative confirmed “[s]ince 1 May, the JCC inspection rate has dropped significantly”, with no inspections on 7-8 May 2023. As of 8 May 2023, the total exports of grain and foodstuffs under the Initiative is 29,798,277 metric tonnes, while there have been no exports of fertilizers so far. Official reports (2) concerning a quadrilateral meeting between Ukraine, Türkiye, Russia and the UN on 10-11 May 2023 involved discussions of “the recent proposals by the United Nations, namely the resumption of the Togliatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline, the longer extension of the deal, improvements at the Joint Coordination Centre for stable operations and exports, as well as other issues raised by the parties”.

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