All news

Russian Foreign Ministry points to misuse of grain deal’s humanitarian corridor

The diplomatic agency reiterated that the geography of cargo recipients does not correspond at all with the initially stated humanitarian goals

MOSCOW, October 28. /TASS/. Abusing the humanitarian corridor within the framework of the Istanbul agreements on exporting Ukrainian food and normalizing Russia’s agricultural exports cannot be ignored, particularly taking into account the recent terror attack on the Crimean Bridge, according to a statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry published on Friday.

The diplomatic agency noted that despite the snags in carrying out the Istanbul agreements, Russia’s representatives at the Joint Coordinating Center continue to conscientiously work in the interests of implementing the operation on exporting Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea. "If three weeks were needed to transport the first million tons, now it takes slightly more than a week to ship the same volume. Such high rates and efficiency are largely achieved at the expense of the extreme load on our specialists," the ministry explained.

"Additionally, heavy congestion of vessels is being artificially created in the port of Istanbul to exert pressure on our experts in an attempt to slacken control and speed up cargo inspections. During the implementation of the ‘Black Sea initiative’ more than 70 vessels have been detained and some have been excluded altogether for systematic violations related to non-compliance with maritime rules in the sea corridor and for attempts at smuggling in contraband using specially equipped caches," the MFA noted. "Such misuse of the humanitarian corridor cannot be ignored, particularly given the ongoing investigation into delivery routes for explosives in plotting the October 8 terror attack on the Crimean Bridge," the statement said.

The diplomatic agency reiterated that the geography of cargo recipients does not correspond at all with the initially stated humanitarian goals. "Half of all deliveries went to the European Union and such developed countries as the UK, Israel and South Korea, while the needy countries, particularly, Somalia, Ethiopia, Yemen, Sudan and Afghanistan, received only 3% of food products, mainly via the UN World Food Programme (WFP). Due to this, the UN leadership even re-categorized this humanitarian initiative as a commercial one, stressing the importance of stabilizing global food prices," the statement noted.

The Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that the share of Russian agricultural products in the global market structure is no less than the Ukrainian one. "About 10.5 mln tons of grain (77% wheat) have already been sent to Asian (62%) and African (33%) countries," the agency added. "And the contrast, they say, is evident - while Ukrainian cargos are transported along the humanitarian corridor to Europe and developed countries, Russian supplies are being sent to those in need in Africa and Asia."

Additionally, the ministry emphasized that, as opposed to Ukraine, Russia is one of the leading global exporters of fertilizers, the lack of which would threaten both food-consuming and food-producing states with famine. "However, Russian companies can neither implement commercial deliveries of fertilizers nor supply about 300,000 tons of products to the poorest countries free of charge. These fertilizers remain blocked mainly at warehouses in Latvia (80%), as well as in Estonia, Belgium and the Netherlands with their leadership barring their shipment via the UN WFP," the diplomatic agency added.

It pointed out that this situation was mainly caused by unilateral Western sanctions whose negative effect should have been nullified by the implementation of the second Istanbul document between Russia and the UN on normalizing domestic agricultural exports.

"In fact, the stated exclusions [of food and fertilizers from the sanctions] are still not in effect. The Americans and Europeans are essentially punishing the countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America by preventing the access of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers to global markets," the ministry concluded.