Russian Federation’s Suspension of Participation in Black Sea Grain Initiative Risks Impacting Global Food Prices, Top Officials Tells Security Council
Citing Attacks on Russian Ships, Moscow Representative Says His Side Cannot Guarantee Safety of Civilian Vessels Participating in Initiative
The Russian Federation’s decision to temporarily suspend its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, due to alleged attacks against its ships, risks causing spikes in food and fertilizer prices and disproportionately impacting developing countries, senior United Nations officials told the Security Council today, as delegates urged all parties to work towards resuming shipments and extending the agreement.
“This Initiative is too important to fail,” said Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. Noting that 38 countries have purchased approximately 9 million tons of grain from Ukraine through the Black Sea Grain Initiative, he said that, while not all of it has gone to the world’s neediest countries, all of it has had a humanitarian impact by reducing prices and calming market volatility. Noting that the Russian Federation said it is not pulling out of the Initiative, only temporarily suspending its implementation activities, he said he looked forward to welcoming it back as a full, active participant
However, regarding the Initiative’s alleged connection to the Sevastopol attacks and damage to Russian military vessels and infrastructure, he underscored that no military vessels, aircraft or assets are — or have been — involved in support of the Initiative by any party. Reporting that 12 ships sailed from Ukrainian ports today — one filled with wheat for Ethiopia, and the other with wheat for Yemen and Afghanistan — he urged that the supply line be kept open.
Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), highlighting the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the Memorandum of Understanding on Promoting the unimpeded exports of Russian Food and Fertilizers to the World Markets, stressed: “The impact of these two agreements has been made clear in a short period of time, with massive global welfare effects.” With grain exports from Ukraine and the Russian Federation rising substantially, the subsequent decline in food prices may have prevented over 100 million people from falling into poverty.
“However, uncertainty of the continuation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative is now causing the prices to rise again,” she continued, pointing out that wheat futures are up 6 per cent just today and fertilizer prices are still two and half times their 2019 level, producing a global “fertilizer crunch” that is hitting smallholder farmers in the developing world especially hard. UNCTAD is focusing on getting access to fertilizer from the Russian Federation to key markets, she said, adding: “We urge all parties to make every effort to resume and extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative and implement both agreements to their fullest.”
In the ensuing debate, many Council members called on the Russian Federation to renew its participation in the Initiative, so as to stave off a global food crisis, with some noting the role of the aggression on Ukraine in worsening food insecurity in the first place.
To that point, the representative of Albania emphasized that “no one has the right to weaponize food or play starvation games”. Characterizing the Black Sea Grain Initiative as “a beacon of hope in an ocean of despair”, he added that the mechanism worked seamlessly and that there was no need to suspend it. Urging the Russian Federation to renew its commitments, he asked: “On what basis can a few people in the Kremlin dictate to people around the world that they can have something on their table?”
However, the Russian Federation’s representative said that the vessels that were attacked were there to ensure the safety of the grain corridor. The wreckage found was that of a Canadian‑manufactured unmanned aerial vehicle, he said, also noting that unmanned aerial vehicles of a United States manufacturer were noticed in the sky over the Black Sea. Since the Russian side cannot guarantee the safety of the civilian vessels participating in the Initiative, it has suspended participation from 29 October for an unspecified period of time. Further, the sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union were preventing the delivery of Russian food, fertilizers and supplies to developing countries. His country is also ready to provide grain at affordable prices and provide free of charge 500,000 tons to the poorest countries in the upcoming four months, he said.
The United States’ delegate, while welcoming the Russian Federation’s announcement regarding the donation of 500,000 metric tons of grain, stressed that the offer should not come at the cost of blocking vastly larger quantities of food exports from Ukraine. Further, the United States has already excluded food and fertilizer from its sanctions on the Russian Federation. More so, the Russian Federation’s actions directly impact low- and middle-income countries by raising global food prices and exacerbating an already dire humanitarian crisis.
Underscoring that the “the world is hungry”, Kenya’s delegate said that the Russian Federation’s withdrawal from the Initiative will make life harsher for millions who are not party to the war in Ukraine. Calling for a United Nations fact-finding investigation on the alleged attacks, he added that the Council — faced with unverifiable claims and counterclaims about the Sevastopol drone attack ‑ will only be able to take limited action, or no action at all. “It will also sustain an unfortunate trend of the Council being used primarily as a platform for propaganda, not for deliberation that aids its mandate to protect international peace and security,” he said.
The representative of Ukraine said his country was “outraged, but not surprised” at the Russian Federation’s announcement to suspend its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, adding that country never gave up its attempts to aggravate the global food crisis to blackmail the world. It has effectively blockaded the humanitarian corridor since September. The intention is clear: to force Ukraine to succumb to the demands of the Kremlin by raising the spectre of hunger. On this point, he stressed that “the crocodile tears of Putin’s representative do not cover up the cynicism of his masters”, nor their disregard for the nutrition needs of millions.
Also speaking today were representatives of France, India, Ireland, United Kingdom, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Ghana, China, Gabon, Brazil, Norway, Türkiye, Germany and Romania, as well as the European Union, speaking in its capacity as an observer.
The meeting began at 11:51 a.m. and ended at 1:46 p.m.
MARTIN GRIFFITHS, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said that 38 countries have purchased approximately 9 million tons of grain from Ukraine under the Black Sea Grain Initiative. While not all of it has gone to the neediest countries, all of it has had had a humanitarian impact, reducing prices and calming market volatility. The Russian Federation’s decision to suspend its participation therein is concerning. Highlighting the painstaking process in the Initiative’s Joint Coordination Centre to arrive at consensus on all matters, even while war is raging, he stressed that the Centre has to be – and is — meticulously impartial. The corridor has been tranquil, food has flowed and prices have dropped. On the Initiative’s alleged connection to the Sevastopol attacks and damage to Russian military vessels and infrastructure, he underscored that no military vessels, aircraft or assets are — or have been — involved in support of the Initiative by any party. They are not required and are, in fact, prohibited from going closer than 10 nautical miles to cargo ships.
He went on to stress that the corridor is “just lines on a chart” and that, when Initiative vessels are not in the area, the corridor has no special status. On the alleged misuse of the Initiative’s cargo vessels for military purposes, he said that none were in the corridor on the night of 29 October when the reported attacks occurred. Further, no vessel reported an incident over the weekend. Nonetheless, the Initiative is ready to investigate all reports and stands ready to discuss any concerns. Noting that the Joint Coordination Centre’s operations are an “open book”, he said that the journeys of cargo vessels in the Initiative can be tracked in real-time on public websites. All parties share the same information about ships, cargo, inspection and destinations. Detailing rigorous joint inspections, he said that, on over 100 occasions when problems have been raised, the Centre’s process has been comprehensive and exhaustive. While this is not the easiest format for countries at war, it has worked up to now.
Exports from the global breadbaskets of Ukraine and the Russian Federation are vital, he emphasized, adding that unimpeded exports from both are needed. Further, Member States must support the implementation of the agreement with the latter country to ensure its food and fertilizer exports can reach global markets as, without such fertilizer, the world will face even worse shortages in 2023. He underscored that it is encouraging that the Russian Federation has assured that it is not pulling out of the Initiative, only temporarily suspending its implementation activities. That country has deployed a highly professional team at the Centre for the Initiative’s implementation, and he looked forward to welcoming back the same as a full, active participant, he said. Noting that 12 ships sailed from Ukrainian ports today, and two headed in to load food, he noted that they are all ships previously inspected by the Centre’s full membership. One — the IKARIA ANGEL — is loaded with 30,000 tons of World Food Programme (WFP) wheat for Ethiopia. Another — the PANGEO — is filled with wheat destined for Yemen and Afghanistan. Urging that this supply line be kept open, he stressed: “This Initiative is too important to fail.”
REBECA GRYNSPAN, Secretary-General, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), recalled that the war, beginning in the context of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, triggered a cost-of-living crises of global proportions, with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Price Index reaching its highest level ever. In response, the Black Sea Grain Initiative and the Memorandum of Understanding on Promoting the unimpeded exports of Russian Food and Fertilizers to the World Markets, initiated by the Secretary-General, were signed in Istanbul on 22 July.
“The impact of these two agreements has been made clear in a short period of time, with massive global welfare effects,” with grain exports from Ukraine and the Russian Federation rising substantially, she continued. The result was lower food prices and improved access to food for humanitarian actors, with the FAO Food Price Index declining six months in a row. Citing World Bank models, she said that this decline may have prevented over one hundred million people from falling into poverty.
“However, uncertainty of the continuation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative is now causing the prices to rise again,” with wheat futures up 6 per cent just today, she said. At the same time, fertilizer prices are still two and half times their 2019 level, producing a global “fertilizer crunch” that is hitting smallholder farmers in the developing world especially hard. In this regard, UNCTAD is focusing on getting access to fertilizer from the Russian Federation to key markets, she said, emphasizing that sanctions and shipping costs, among other things, are contributing to continued high prices.
Going forward, she stressed the need to further clarify exemptions for food and fertilizer within various sanction regimes, the need to address indirect constraints to food and fertilizer trade, and to improve the private sector’s willingness to engage. “We urge all parties to make every effort to resume and extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative and implement both agreements to their fullest,” she said, adding that the United Nations will spare no efforts to continuing to work with all parties to ensure that we reach this goal.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation), noting that the vessels that were attacked were used to ensure the safety of the grain corridor, reported that the wreckage found is that of a Canadian manufactured unmanned aerial vehicle. The coordinates of one of those unmanned aerial vehicles also showed that the starting point was in the corridor’s security area, which could mean that the drone was launched from one of the civilian vessels charted by Kyiv and its “Western backers”. He also pointed out that an intelligence unmanned aerial vehicles of a United States manufacturer was noticed in the sky over the Black Sea. “This is a gross violation of the Istanbul agreement and basically ‘ends its humanitarian dimension’,” he said. Recognizing that the Russian side cannot guarantee the safety of the civilian vessels participating in the Initiative, he noted that it has suspended his country’s participation from 29 October for an unspecified period of time. The work of the Initiative was continuing without the Russian Federation’s participation of the Russian experts. From 30 to 31 October, the representatives of the United Nations, Türkiye and Ukraine agreed to the passage of 12 vessels from Ukrainian ports to Türkiye, four from Türkiye to Ukraine and 40 from Türkiye into the Mediterranean. He underscored that the Initiative is not to be implemented without the participation of the Russian Federation. In this regard, all the decisions made without the participation of the Russian Federation bear no obligation over the country.
He also recalled that, during the Initiative, 70 vessels were stopped and some removed because of the systematic violations of the navigation rules in the corridor and the attempts to involve smuggling secret containers. Referring to the Ukrainian social media sources, he drew attention to discussions of potential fuel and weapons smuggling through vessels which are returning to Ukraine using the grain corridor. He also recalled that sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union prevent the delivery of Russian food, fertilizers and supplies to developing countries. Ukrainian food was going to the countries of the European Union and other countries, instead of being delivered to countries most in need. By the end of the year the Russian farmers could provide 30 million tons of grain, potentially bringing it up to 50 million tons. The Russian Federation has already sent over 10.5 million tons of grain to countries in Asia and Africa. “Russia is also ready to provide grain at affordable prices and provide free of charge 500,000 tons to the poorest countries in the upcoming four months,” he said.
NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) expressed regret that the Russian Federation was using the Security Council as a propaganda platform, adding that its statements made against the United Kingdom and Ukraine on 29 October were “based on no tangible evidence and completely unfounded”. The Russian Federation was seeking a pretext to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, he said, recalling that Council members found out on Saturday “which pretext it chose to invent”. Hailing the Initiative as a success, he noted that 9 million tons of grain and other foodstuffs have been exported since 22 July, resulting in a fall in wheat prices. By deciding to suspend its participation in the agreement, the Russian Federation is imposing food insecurity and malnutrition on the world, particularly on developing countries which depend on Ukrainian grain exports. Further, that country is using hunger as a means of exerting pressure and as a weapon of war, he said, stressed that “this blackmail must end”. He called on the Russian Federation to adhere with the agreements reached on 22 July. France will also continue to mobilize with European partners to implement solidarity lanes that have enabled the export of 13 million tons of grain and other foodstuffs, and will make efforts to ensure that the Russian Federation’s lies cannot prosper, he said.
MADHU SUDAN RAVINDRAN (India) said that the suspension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative is expected to further exacerbate the food security, fuel and fertilizer supply challenges facing the world, particularly the global South. As such, he voiced his support for the Secretary-General's engagement with the parties on renewal and full implementation of the Initiative, including facilitating exports of food and fertilizer from Ukraine and the Russian Federation. The Black Sea Grain Initiative and its successful implementation over the last four months is consistent with India’s long-standing position that diplomacy and dialogue is the only solution to end the ongoing conflict, he stressed, affirming his country’s continued support for all efforts to end the conflict. Global order is anchored on the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international law and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all States, he emphasized.
FERGAL TOMAS MYTHEN (Ireland) expressed regret over the Russian Federation’s decision to suspend its involvement in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The Initiative is vital for ensuring the export of much-needed grain and fertilizer to address the global food crisis, which has been exacerbated by that country’s war against Ukraine. In turning its back on the deal, the Russian Federation could worsen the situation for millions of people across the world already at risk of starvation. That it would suspend its participation as winter sets in is “particularly cynical”, he stressed, underlining that — as always — the most vulnerable will pay the highest price. He therefore urged the Russian Federation to reconsider its decision and resume participation in the Initiative so that food can reach those who need it most, such as those in Somalia, Ethiopia, Yemen and Lebanon. Supporting the Initiative’s renewal in November, he encouraged all parties to engage in good faith towards this end. He expressed hope that, as they did in July, the sides can again come together in the spirit of dialogue to overcome any obstacles and “save this life-sustaining operation from the brink”.
MARTIN KIMANI (Kenya) said that “the world is hungry” and that news of the Russian Federation’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative will make life harsher for millions who are not party to the war in Ukraine. However, the reported drone attack should not endanger global food security. He called for the immediate deployment of a United Nations fact-finding and verification to report on any war-related action that endangers global food security. If the past 10 months are any guide, the Council — faced with unverifiable claims and counterclaims about the Sevastopol drone attack — will be only to take limited action, or no action at all. “It will also sustain an unfortunate trend of the Council being used primarily as a platform for propaganda not for deliberation that aids its mandate to protect international peace and security.” He also proposed that the conflicting parties, and their allies and partners, make use of the Secretary-General’s good offices for the mediation and resolution of the conflict in Ukraine, and in stabilizing the wider European security order.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom) shared that her country has sanctioned neither food nor fertilizer exports from the Russian Federation to third countries, working hard to ensure there are mitigations in place to avoid indirect impacts of sanctions. While pointing out that Moscow claims it suspended participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative due to an attack on its Black Sea fleet, she stressed that it falsely claims that those vessels were involved in implementation of the deal. “What it neglects to mention is that Russia’s Black Sea fleet is also illegally occupying Ukrainian waters and bombing Ukrainian towns,” she added. Urging the Russian Federation to renew its cooperation under the agreement so that shipments of grain can continue as before, she called upon all parties to work together to ensure the Black Sea Grain Initiative is renewed in November and is able to achieve its full potential to the benefit of all.
JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMÍREZ (Mexico) regretted the suspension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, noting that the agreement enabled the resumption of the export of more than 9 million tons of grain and other food stuff, which helped stabilize world food prices and contributed to mitigating food insecurity, mainly affecting developing countries which were already facing critical levels of food insecurity. Stating that the Initiative was an achievement for mediation and constructive dialogue and highlighting the role of the United Nations in this regard, he echoed the call of the Secretary-General on parties to reactivate the Initiative, and called for the full implementation of the agreement signed by the Russian Federation. He warned that not doing so will risk sparking a catastrophic increase in global food prices, adding that the highest price for the suspension of the agreement will be paid by the most disadvantaged countries.
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS (United States) said that, while partners across Africa, Asia, Americas and Europe are working together to increase the resilience of global food systems, the Russian Federation once again is demonstrating its willingness to weaponize food. That country’s actions directly impact low and middle-income countries by raising global food prices and exacerbating an already dire humanitarian crisis and global food insecurity. Citing the positive results of the Initiative, he urged the Russian Federation to resume and extend its participation to ensure that people around the world continue to benefit from it. Since February, his country has provided more than $6.1 billion in humanitarian assistance and $2.3 billion in development aid to combat global hunger and strengthen food security. The Russian Federation’s announced intention to donate 500,000 metric tons of grain to countries in need, although a welcome step, should not come at the cost of blocking vastly larger quantities of food exports from Ukraine. The United States has already excluded food and fertilizer from its sanctions on the Russian Federation and will continue to provide guidance as needed to ensure that food gets to its proper destination, he said.
LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates) noted that, given the central role of Ukraine and the Russian Federation in the global food supply chain, local events often have an immediate short-term effect on commodity prices worldwide. In turn, those short-term price movements affect the long-term food security of people all around the world. These events are particularly devastating for Africa and the Middle East. She noted that the Black Sea Grain Initiative relied on the smooth coordination of a number of direct and indirect stakeholders, whereby it is vital that all parties to maintain trust in the mechanism. Changes to any part of this delicate construct, however, will result in ripple effects throughout the entire chain, affecting food and fertilizer exports. In this regard, she urged all stakeholders to address their differences, eliminate uncertainties and reengage on the respective process. Commending the significant efforts of all parties that resulted in the respective agreements, she emphasized that full implementation, expansion and extension of the agreements would have a beneficial impact on global food security.
KHALILAH HACKMAN (Ghana) noted that the Initiative has made shipments under United Nations food-aid programmes possible to Afghanistan, Horn of Africa, Syria and Yemen. It is also evident that global markets had begun to respond positively to exports, with steadily monthly decreases in global food prices. Against that backdrop – and “in the wider interest of all humanity” – she urged the Russian Federation to reconsider its decision to suspend its involvement in the Initiative. The full commitment of all parties to the Initiative is crucial to avoid a reversal of notable gains and a rebound of increased food prices. She therefore called on all Council members, and the international community, to support the intensified engagements of the Secretary-General and Türkiye in this regard. She also called for close cooperation through the Joint Coordination Centre on immediate next steps. Such steps should include the inspection and granting of safe passage to vessels already in the demarcated humanitarian corridors of the Black Sea. She added that, in keeping with humanitarian objectives, equal efforts must also be made to facilitate the export of Russian Federation fertilizer and other products critical to agrarian economies.
GENG SHUANG (China), emphasizing that “it is not easy to open a food‑export route in a war zone”, said that he hoped that the parties concerned will remain in communication, rebuild mutual trust and find a solution that meets the concerns of all. Hopefully, the Secretary-General will continue to play an active role, as well. Underscoring the importance of grain and fertilizer exports from the Russian Federation, he called on relevant countries to eliminate the negative impact of sanctions and to stop politicizing and weaponizing international trade. A cold war mentality and bloc politics will not bring peace, he said, emphasizing that dialogue and negotiation are the only realistic way out of the European crisis. Hopefully, relevant parties will respond positively to a proposal by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on 30 October for dialogue with Western countries to ease current tensions, he added.
MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon), Council President for October, speaking in his national capacity, stressed that while the Black Sea Grain Initiative had given a positive signal that discussion was still possible in the midst of a war, that signal has been compromised by the suspension of that agreement. Noting that the implementation of the agreement requires full commitment of all parties, he urged such parties to use the same channels which had contributed to its negotiations and conclusion to address questions linked to its implementation and to allow for unhindered continuation of exports and reactivation of the agreement. Pointing out that it is the responsibility of all parties to not thwart the Initiative, he reiterated his appeal for restraint and de-escalation and asked parties to abstain from any unilateral action which could prove harmful in seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine.
FERIT HOXHA (Albania) said the Black Sea Grain Initiative represented “a beacon of hope in an ocean of despair”, as the exports it enabled provided much-needed relief everywhere. The events surrounding the agreement demonstrated to everyone around the world that the war in Ukraine was what stood between them and the food on their table, he said, adding that the mechanism worked seamlessly and that there was no need to suspend it. “The Russian Federation is throwing us back in time, and the consequences of its actions are already being felt,” he continued, adding that the suspension of the implementation of the deal is likely to lead to distressed markets and suffering among the needy. “I have one question: “On what basis can a few people in the Kremlin dictate to people around the world that they can have something on their table?”, he asked, adding: “No one has the right to weaponize food or play starvation games.” He called on the Russian Federation to renew inspections, honour its commitments and end its war of choice.
RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil), expressing deep regret at the suspension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, emphasized that it will have a dramatic impact on developing countries, pushing them towards the renewed threat of food insecurity. “Just pointing the finger at others will not bring us any closer to a solution,” he said, urging the parties to return to the negotiating table and renewing without delay the commitments made in July. Stating that the conflict in Ukraine has complex causes, which involve the architecture of collective security in Europe, he called on the international community to encourage creative and pragmatic measures, such as the Istanbul agreement and the exchange of prisoners of war. Calling for new paths to dialogue to be explored, he stressed: “The price of delaying a diplomatic solution, in good faith and without preconditions, is simply too high.”
MONA JUUL (Norway), stressing that the Black Sea Grain Initiative must be fully implemented and renewed, called on the Russian Federation to lift its suspension to minimize the impact on the populations that depend on those shipments. Moreover, a transportation line must be kept open to secure food for the world's most vulnerable people and countries, she said, adding that Norway continues to support the Secretary-General's efforts for dialogue and mediation between the parties in the search for a renewed grain agreement, and for peace and freedom for the people of Ukraine, including the full restoration of their country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Norway does not, and will not, recognize any illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory, including Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, she added.
DMITRY S. CHUMAKOV (Russian Federation), taking the floor a second time, offered a different interpretation of the Joint Coordination Centre’s statistics. As of 29 October, 409 ships had passed through along the grain corridor’ with more than 40 per cent going to Europe. The total export of food was 9.5 million tons, out of which 43 per cent was corn and 29 per cent was wheat. Noting that this only corresponds to a third of the total exports, he pointed out that not all Ukrainian wheat is food grade. Despite that, more than half of the recipients were in high income countries, the vast majority being the countries of the European Union. “Low- or even middle-income countries received less than a quarter of exports,” he said, pointing out that in three months only 2.3 million tons were exported, including only 225,000 tons, or 2.3 per cent through WFP. He underscored that no confirmation has been received from the European Union countries that they are “allegedly transferring or re-selling commercially” parts of the food that they bought from Ukraine and sending it to poor countries. “We are still finding it difficult to understand why the World Food Programme is playing this low role,” he said.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA (Ukraine), stressing that terrorism against civilians has become a “hallmark” of the Russian Federation in its war of aggression against Ukraine, reported that, this morning, Russian missiles and drones attacked energy facilities and other critical civilian infrastructure in his country. Ukraine was “outraged, but not surprised” at the Russian Federation’s announcement to suspend its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, he said, adding that country never gave up its attempts to aggravate the global food crisis to blackmail the world. It has effectively blockaded the humanitarian corridor since September. The intention is clear: to force Ukraine to succumb to the demands of the Kremlin by raising the spectre of hunger. On this point, he stressed that “the crocodile tears of Putin’s representative do not cover up the cynicism of his masters”, nor their disregard for the nutrition needs of millions.
He underscored, however, that Ukraine’s commitment to the Initiative has not been shaken by deliberate, regular armed attacks and provocations, recalling that the Russian Federation shelled the port of Odessa the day after the Initiative was signed. Further, Ukraine has done its utmost to ensure the functioning of the grain corridor despite the Russian Federation’s terrorist attacks against its energy infrastructure. His country will continue gathering and shipping agricultural products to ensure global food security, he emphasized. Pointing out that “the only thing that Russia is able to feed us with is its disinformation”, he expressed concern that Moscow is using the Security Council to promote false narratives. This serves to discredit the Council, and it must be stopped. He added that, as soon as the Russian Federation is compelled to stop its war, the looming threat of hunger will be over, particularly for the most vulnerable nations.
FERIDUN HADI SINIRLIOĞLU (Türkiye) emphasized that the Black Sea Grain Initiative had marked a turning point in how the international community puts the needs of those furthest behind first even at times of conflict. Children around the world, from Afghanistan to Ethiopia, Somalia to Yemen, are alive today thanks to the Initiative. He noted that 97 loaded vessels and 15 inbound vessels had been registered for inspection around Istanbul as of this morning. However, the ships anchored there now faced navigations risks. Stressing that the Initiative has been a success and must continue, he underscored that trust between nations with different development levels has been hard earned and can be easily lost unless the world takes proactive steps today. The two deals brokered to bring Ukrainian and Russian products to world food markets should be tackled on their own merits and to the extent possible decoupled from the developments on the ground. He also highlighted that “both deals were made in good faith and should continue in good faith”.
THOMAS PETER ZAHNEISEN (Germany), emphasizing that grain prices are still too high, said that the Russian Federation’s suspension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and its potential global implications will be discussed by Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Group of Seven when they meet in Germany at the end of this week. They will look at how best to support the efforts being made by Türkiye and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, he said, adding that the African Union and the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Kenya and Ghana will participate. What the world now needs is a public commitment to extending the Initiative beyond its initial 120 days, he stressed, thanking the Secretary-General as well as the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, UNCTAD and WFP for their efforts in that regard.
CORNEL FERUȚĂ (Romania) called for the implementation and extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which has proven instrumental in unblocking the grain exports in the Black Sea region and consequently in avoiding a food shortage catastrophe for millions worldwide. Making food available and not weaponizing it is both a shared and individual responsibility of all Member States. He condemned the Russian Federation’s suspension and echoed calls for that country to reverse its decision and to resume the implementation of the Initiative. He outlined measures taken by Romania to facilitate its role as a transit country supporting the delivery of Ukrainian grain in the past eight months since the war broke out, including liberalizing the bilateral road transport and freight in transit with Ukraine. However, he said that such efforts and the European Union’s Solidarity Lanes are complementary to the Black Sea Grain Initiative. He called on the initiative brokered by the Secretary-General in July to continue, and to be extended beyond November.
SILVIO GONZATO, representative of the European Union, in its capacity as observer, stressed that the Russian Federation is solely responsible for the global food security crisis caused by its unprovoked and unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine and its blockade of Ukrainian seaports. The United Nations-brokered agreement has made, together with the European Union-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes, a significant difference by allowing the export of grain and agricultural products from Ukraine to the global markets and to countries most in need, including in the Horn of Africa, Yemen and Afghanistan. The Black Sea Grain Initiative has brought to the global market over 9.5 million tons of grain and foodstuff. Moreover, the European Union-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes has enabled another 14 million tons to reach global markets.
These efforts have contributed to lowering food prices to the benefit of developing countries, he continued. According to United Nations estimates based on the World Bank model, the reduction of prices for staple foods has indirectly prevented some 100 million people from falling into extreme poverty. Since the beginning of its war of aggression against Ukraine, the Russian Federation has been weaponizing food and hunger, he stressed, urging it to reverse its decision and immediately resume implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Voicing support for the Secretary-General's call to extend the Initiative beyond its current period ending in November, he said the European Union and its member States will continue to respond to the global food security crisis and support the timely and stable delivery of Ukrainian agricultural products to global markets.