Plan B needed. Russia threatens to withdraw from grain initiative on May 18
Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Russia threatens to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative on May 18. In this regard, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Turkey, Vasyl Bodnar, believes that it is necessary to look for some alternative options, he said at a briefing on Friday.

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"My personal opinion is that the grain agreement is, of course, a way out of the situation, but it is in a certain way a limitation of Ukrainian sovereignty, since we cannot export all products freely according to international law. And we also need to think about some alternative options if the Russians will try to block the deal on May 18," Bodnar stated.

He noted that during this period, Turkey will most likely be preparing for the second round of presidential elections, and the UN's ability to influence the Russian side may not be sufficient.

"Perhaps we need to form a plan B, a plan C, where the ships will go and whether they will be inspected further in case the Russians try to create obstacles: whether to block the initiative itself, or to threaten the ports," Bodnar said.

REFERENCE. On July 22, 2022, an agreement on the safe transportation of grain from the ports of Ukraine was signed in Istanbul in the presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The document was signed by representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the UN, and Turkey. Russia concluded its own similar agreement with Turkey and the UN.

Since April 10, Russia stopped registering the fleet to participate in the grain initiative and refused to work according to the plans of Ukrainian ports. This effectively stopped the entry of new vessels under the grain initiative.

On April 17-18, there were no inspections in the territorial waters of Turkey. They were unblocked only after the personal visit of the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine to Turkey.