New York, 17 May 2023 (TDI): The Permanent Representative of Russia at the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, has raised concerns regarding the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

The Ambassador said that most of the food exported from Ukraine ends up in the European Union instead of going to the Global South.

The Ambassador said that the food that was exported from Ukraine as part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative didn’t go to cater to the need of countries struggling with hunger but constituted commercial export.

He highlighted that over the past ten years, the total Ukrainian farmlands that had transferred under the control of American agro-industrial transnational cooperations had exceeded 4 million hectares.

He said that most of the food exports from Ukraine that were supposed to go to the Global South ended up in European Union because of the extra measures of liberalization of Ukrainian exports to the EU which came along with the launch of Solidarity Lanes, facilitating the access of Ukrainian food to the domestic EU markets.

He stressed that the global food insecurity is not due to Russia’s special military operation as the problem emerged long ago due to the irresponsible fiscal and loan policies of the Western states, which exacerbated the problem during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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He said that Russia welcomed the Black Sea Grain Initiative proposed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, which was supposed to improve food security in developing countries. The agreement was made in 2022 and aimed at ensuring the export of Ukrainian food products and ammonia from Ukrainian Black Sea ports and unlocking exports of grain and fertilizers from Russia.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet has a heavy presence across the Black Sea. But according to Russia, the deal has not been implemented in essence, as most of the food exports are ending up in the West. According to Ambassador Nebenzia, as of 4 May 2023, 40 percent of all products that have been exported through the humanitarian corridor went to the EU.

Russia also maintains that no progress has been made on the Memorandum of Understanding between Russia and the United Nations aimed at unlocking Russia’s grain and fertilizer exports and the unlocking of the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline.