Brussels, 17 July 2023 (TDI): The European Union (EU) has condemned Russia’s decision to terminate the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
The move, taken in the wake of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and its blockade of Ukrainian sea ports, has far-reaching consequences for global food security and stability, the EU emphasized.
— European External Action Service – EEAS 🇪🇺 (@eu_eeas) July 17, 2023
The EU calls on Russia to immediately reverse its decision and allow freedom of navigation on the Black Sea.
Significance of the Black Sea Grain Initiative
The Black Sea Grain Initiative has been playing a crucial role in ensuring the export of Ukraine’s grain to global markets, particularly to support vulnerable populations in need.
Together with the EU-Ukraine “Solidarity Lanes,” the partial reopening of Black Sea ports due to the initiative has been instrumental in stabilizing and reducing unprecedentedly high food prices resulting from Russia’s actions.
In the past year, global food staples’ prices had steadily declined, with the Food Price Index of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) falling by 23% from the peak reached in March 2022.
Under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, almost 33 million tonnes of grain and foodstuffs have been safely exported to 45 countries via over one thousand vessels.
This includes a significant amount of 725,000 tonnes of grain dispatched by vessels chartered by the World Food Programme (WFP) in support of its humanitarian operations in conflict-affected regions like Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen.
Throughout the war, Ukraine has remained WFP’s largest supplier of wheat, contributing over half of WFP’s global wheat grain procurement in 2022.
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However, Russia’s termination of the initiative puts all these achievements at risk. By blocking one of Ukraine’s main grain export routes for human consumption, Russia is solely responsible for disruptions in grain deliveries worldwide and exacerbating global food price inflation.
The EU calls on Russia to reconsider its decision immediately and to resume the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative to alleviate the ongoing food security crisis.
In response to Russia’s actions, the EU vows to spare no efforts in supporting the timely and stable delivery of all goods, particularly agricultural products to global markets through the EU-Ukraine “Solidarity Lanes”.
The EU also reaffirms its commitment to working with affected partner countries in its comprehensive Team Europe response to address global food insecurity.