Russia halts landmark deal that allowed Ukraine to export grain at time of growing hunger - Assoociated Press

Russia on Monday halted a breakthrough wartime deal that allowed grain to flow from Ukraine to countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where hunger is a growing threat and high food prices have pushed more people into poverty.

The suspension marks the end of an accord that the U.N. and Turkey brokered last summer to allow shipments of food from the Black Sea region after Russia’s invasion of its neighbor worsened a global food crisis. The initiative is credited with helping reduce soaring prices of wheat, vegetable oil and other global food commodities.

Ukraine and Russia are both major global suppliers of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other food that developing nations rely on.

Some analysts don’t expect more than a temporary bump in food staples traded on global markets because countries such as Russia and Brazil have ratcheted up wheat and corn exports. But food insecurity worldwide and prices at local stores and markets have risen as developing countries also struggle with climate change, conflict and economic crises. Finding suppliers outside Ukraine that are farther away also could raise costs, analysts say.

The grain deal provided guarantees that ships would not be attacked entering and leaving Ukrainian ports, while a separate agreement facilitated the movement of Russian food and fertilizer. Western sanctions do not apply to Moscow’s agricultural shipments, but some companies may be wary of doing business with Russia.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative has allowed three Ukrainian ports to export 32.9 million metric tons of grain and other food to the world, according to the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul.

Russia has repeatedly complained that the deal largely benefits richer nations. JCC data shows that 57% of the grain from Ukraine went to developing nations, with the top destination being China, which received nearly a quarter of the food.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the end of the deal will result in more human suffering but that the U.N. would keep working to ensure the flow of supplies from Ukraine and Russia.

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Associated Press

Events: Russo-Ukrainian War 

Locations: Russia Ukraine Black Sea Brazil Moscow, Russia China 

Organizations: United Nations Joint Coordination Center 

People: Antonio Guterres 

Tags: Hunger War Trade Poverty Economics Black Sea Grain Initiative 

Type: Headlines