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Mykolaiv, contrary to Ukraine's offer, remains outside 'grain initiative' for the time being

KYIV. March 16 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukraine has turned to the UN and Turkey, which act as signatories and guarantors of the “grain initiative,” with a proposal to include Mykolaiv ports in the agreement, but they have not yet confirmed this possibility, Deputy Minister for Communities and Territories Development and Infrastructure Yuriy Vaskov said on the sidelines of the Exporters Summit organized by Forbes Ukraine.

“The inclusion of Mykolaiv ports depends on the war situation and, of course, on the position of the partners (the UN and Turkey). We came up with a proposal to extend the “grain initiative” for a year and expand it to the ports of Mykolaiv. But so far there has been no such decision,” Vaskov told Interfax-Ukraine.

According to him, if Mykolaiv ports were included in the “grain initiative,” this would allow, among other things, to withdraw some of the 30 ships that have remained blocked since the beginning of the full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation.

The Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority told Interfax-Ukraine that since the beginning of the full-scale war and as of March 14, some 51 ships with approximately 670,000 tonnes of various cargoes (including grain) have been blocked in the ports of Ukraine. There are about 230 crew members on board the ships.

In the ports of Mykolaiv region, 30 ships are blocked, of which eight with more than 165,000 tonnes of agricultural products. Several vessels are blocked in Odesa ports, as they were loaded with non-agricultural products and, accordingly, were not subject to the initiative.

According to Vaskov, Ukraine turned to partners – the UN and Turkey – with a request to agree on the organization of a safe corridor so that the ships could leave.

“We initiated the question in November that it is necessary for all parties, with the support of the UN and the International Maritime Organization, to receive security guarantees and organize a corridor for their exit. Unfortunately, we have not received such security guarantees,” Vaskov said.