UK Gov Says Russia Still Blocking Grain Shipments – The British Ministry of Defence said on Friday, June 9, that Russia is “likely” still blocking some vessels from leaving Ukrainian ports, despite the Black Sea Grain Initiative agreement being extended by 60 days just last month.
In a statement shared both on Twitter and British government’s website, the British MOD described how Russia is currently only allowing between one and two ships to be expected per day.
“The Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) was extended by 60 days on 17 May 2023. However, Russia almost certainly continues to hinder grain exports by deliberately slowing inspections and actively blocking some vessels. Currently, only one or two ships are being inspected per day, compared with six to eight in Autumn 2022,” the statement explains.
On Friday, June 9, a spokesperson for the United Nations said that efforts were being made to boost Russian exports of both fertilizers and food as the country threatens not to extend the BSGI after it expires again in July.
As part of an effort to convince Moscow to continue allowing Ukrainian grain to leave its ports on the Black Sea, the United Nations will take efforts to boost the export of Russia’s produce, which is not technically subject to sanctions imposed by Western countries following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
Moscow, meanwhile, insists that more must be done to ease sanctions that affect payments, insurance, and logistics for the transfer of its produce overseas.
United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that “tangible progress” had been made in recent months.
“Challenges remain but we will spare no effort to overcome all remaining obstacles,” Dujarric added.
What Is Russia Planning?
As the United Nations works to encourage Russia to agree to another BSGI extension, British defense officials argue that Moscow may also be attempting to force concessions on the reopening of an ammonia pipeline that runs through Ukraine.
“Russia is likely attempting to force concessions on the re-opening of the Togliatti-Odesa pipeline, which exports ammonia from Russia through Ukraine, via Odesa,” this week’s statement from the British MOD explained.
“To complicate the situation, in recent days, the pipeline was damaged and is not currently operational.”
British intelligence also argued that in the run-up to the July 16 deadline for a new BSGI extension agreement, there will likely be new “Russian rhetoric and obstruction.”
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.