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UGA calls on intl community to restore free navigation in Black Sea

KYIV. Feb 17 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The Ukrainian Grain Association (UGA) called on the world community, Turkey and the UN to oppose the Russian seizure of the Black Sea and the imposition of restrictions on shipping for other countries.

“UGA considers it necessary to note that the Black Sea is not an inland sea of Russia, where it can dictate shipping requirements to other countries. Russia’s targeted actions to delay inspections of ships heading to Ukrainian ports to load grain and other food products under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, demonstrate Russia’s true intentions to continue to destabilize the world’s food security and turn food into a weapon,” the organization said on its website.

UGA emphasized that due to the deliberate delay in the inspection of ships by the Russian Federation, a line of more than 140 ships has formed in the Bosphorus, the vast majority of which have been waiting for their turn for more than a month. Thus, the food security of countries dependent on Ukrainian food exports is under threat.

In addition, the Russian Federation, despite military aggression, attacks on Ukrainian ports and the restriction of navigation in Ukrainian seaports, continues to use the opportunity for unhindered trade passage of its ships from Russian Black Sea ports.

“The involvement of the Russian side in the inspection of ships bound for Ukrainian ports [which it deliberately delays] and at the same time the absence of inspections of ships plying from Russian ports in the Azov-Black Sea basin is nothing more than a reward for the aggressor and restriction of navigation in the international waters of the Black sea in its favor,” the association said in the statement.

“Moreover, inspections of Russian ships in the Bosphorus are not carried out, which makes it possible for it to use merchant ships to transport military cargo to continue the war against Ukraine and blackmail other states,” UGA added.

As a result, the association calls on the world community, the UN and Turkey not only to encourage Russia to stop delaying the movement of ships under the Istanbul Grain Initiative and stop using food as a weapon, but also to start working to restore free navigation in the Black Sea for all countries, in particular, free merchant shipping to the Ukrainian ports of the Black Sea.