Largest wheat importer criticises Russia for backing away from ‘grain deal’
Photo: EPA

Egypt, which is one of the world’s largest wheat importers, has criticised Russia for withdrawing from the grain deal, saying it would continue to buy Ukrainian grain through alternative routes.

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Speaking with Bloomberg, Egyptian supply minister Ali El-Mosilhy said the country is "not pleased with the Russian withdrawal from the UN grain-export deal" and urged Moscow to reconsider its position.

Egypt's economy has been hit by rising grain prices, triggered by Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine last February. This week, after Russia announced its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, grain prices went up again.

After the outbreak of the full-scale war, Egypt was forced to suspend imports of Ukrainian wheat, but the grain initiative made it possible to resume purchases in December 2022.

Domestic wheat consumption in Egypt is about 25 million tonnes per year, while the country produces about 12 million tonnes.

Egypt has received about 1 million tonnes of Ukrainian corn, 418,000 tonnes of wheat, 131,000 tonnes of soybeans, 3100 tonnes of oil and 1500 tonnes of sunflower meal through the grain corridor, per the UN.

On July 17, 2023, Russia announced its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, adding that it would not give guarantees of non-attack on civilian vessels after that date. On the same day, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered the UN and Turkey to continue the work of the corridor without Russia.

After that, Russia massively attacked Odesa from the air for two nights in a row, causing serious damage to the ports in Odesa and Chornomorsk, which worked within the corridor. On July 19, the Russian regime announced that it would consider countries whose ships go to the ports of Ukraine to be "involved in the conflict".