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Russia reinforces narratives about allegedly inexpediency of continuing work of 'grain corridor' in current format – MFA Ambassador-at-Large

KYIV. March 1 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Russia has now strengthened the narratives about the alleged inexpediency of continuing the work of the “grain corridor” in the current format, Ukraine should not fall for this blackmail and insists on extending the initiative for a year, Ambassador-at-Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, coordinator of the Council of Exporters and Investors Olha Trofimtseva has said.

“Continuing the work of the ‘grain corridor’ is very important for us. We see a typical situation of loosening, increased pressure and blackmail from Russia, which was also in November. Nothing new in this,” she said at a briefing at the Media Center Ukraine in Kyiv.

Trofimtseva said Russia has now strengthened the narratives about the alleged inexpediency of continuing the work of the “grain corridor” in the format it is now.

“Hopefully, there has already been an appeal to partners – the UN, Turkey, first of all, that there should be no sabotage by Russia. Secondly, we should not fall for this blackmail of Russia. We saw an example in November, when there was already such blackmail,” Trofimtseva said.

The ambassador said any difficulties with the work of the “grain corridor” instantly complicate the situation on world markets.

“In the best case, we draw up to 60% to 65% of the volumes that we exported before the war. Not more. And this is in the best months of the ‘grain corridor,” she said.

In particular, in January 2023, Ukraine exported 4.8 million tonnes of grain, of which more than 2.7 million tonnes were exported through ports by sea.

“The rest, more than 2 million tonnes, were exported by land routes through the EU countries,” the ambassador said.

Trofimtseva said Ukraine, therefore, has repeatedly emphasized the importance of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

“The figures speak for themselves about the grain corridor. If taken as a whole, more than 22 million tonnes of agricultural products have been supplied since the start of the ‘corridor.’ Grain and oilseeds – more than 18 million tonnes,” Trofimtseva said.

The top three buyers of Ukrainian grain and oilseeds through ports are Spain, China and Turkey. The ambassador said a lot of Ukrainian wheat was delivered as part of the Grain from Ukraine initiative.

The Foreign Ministry said Ukraine insists on extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative for at least a year and including Mykolaiv Commercial Seaport in it.