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MOSCOW/kyiv, 17 July (DPA/EP) –
This Sunday the last ship sailed from the port of Odesa (Ukraine) just a few hours after the expiration of the grain agreement between Russia and Ukraine, considered one of the greatest diplomatic triumphs since the beginning of the conflict and key in the delivery of humanitarian aid to countries in need in Africa and Southeast Asia.
Russia and Ukraine reached in July last year — with the mediation of Turkey and the United Nations — this agreement for the export of Ukrainian grains and Russian agricultural products through the ports of the Black Sea and through the Bosphorus Strait.
Ukraine has been able to ship millions of tons across the Black Sea and, according to UN data, this ship is loaded with more than 15,000 tons of rapeseed.
Although the parties have managed to extend the pact on previous occasions, Moscow now says it is not willing to do so until steps are taken to ensure that that part of the agreement that benefits it is fulfilled. The current extension expires this Monday, July 17.
That is why there is great concern that important foods may become even more scarce, especially in Africa.
Moscow, for its part, has repeatedly said it will not extend the deal unless its demands are met, including a guarantee that its own agricultural shipments do not face international obstacles.
The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, has repeatedly pointed out the importance of this agreement, and has called for its renewal to guarantee that this type of product can reach world markets “without problems, efficiently and in great scale”.
The United States National Security adviser, Jake Sullivan, has assured this Sunday that his country is ready for the possibility that the grain export agreement reached between Russia and Ukraine ends up suspended this Monday after its last extension expired, in what it would be “a major diplomatic setback” for Moscow.