Corn tortillas on the Kyiv bonfire
The participation of some NATO countries in the preparation of terrorist acts carried out by Kyiv behind the screen of the "grain deal" led to its breakdown.
"On October 29, the Armed Forces of Ukraine carried out a terrorist attack in Sevastopol with the help of nine air and seven naval unmanned aerial vehicles. The target of the attack was the ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civilian vessels that ensure the operation of the grain corridor, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
"Specialists of the British Navy trained servicemen of the 73rd Naval Operations Center of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. British special services are also involved in the explosion of Nord Stream gas pipelines, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
As a result, Russia suspended participation in the deal on the export of grain from Ukrainian ports and officially notified UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres about this. Then she said on Sunday at a meeting of the Joint Coordination Center (SCC) that she would continue a dialogue with the delegations of the UN and Turkey on topical issues.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy promised to make every effort to resume the work of the so-called grain deal. The UN and Turkish delegations to the SCC also agreed to create 10 inspection teams to inspect 40 vessels on Monday. To continue the work of the "Black Sea Initiative," the delegations of Turkey and the UN were asked to provide 10 teams of inspectors in order to conduct inspections of 40 outgoing ships. The inspection plan was adopted by the delegation of Ukraine. The delegation of the Russian Federation was informed, the correspondent of The Moscow Post reports.
The delegations of the UN, Turkey and Ukraine approved on October 31 a schedule for the movement of 16, and not 14 ships along the maritime humanitarian corridor. This is stated in the updated data released on Sunday by the representative office of the world organization in the Joint Coordination Center (SCC), based in Istanbul.
And eat grain and "overtake" everything around
Russian President Vladimir Putin previously said that the grain deal could be in question if humanitarian corridors are used for terrorist acts. The deal was set to expire on November 19, but the prospects for an extension are now unclear. According to the Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council, Senator Kosachev, it is necessary to think not about Ukrainian ports, access to which Kyiv and its patrons seek, but about a strong condemnation of actions that destroy the logistics of grain and food supplies from Russia.
The grain deal was not as it was conceived. Questions to her accumulated before the terrorist attack in Sevastopol. In particular, Ukrainian grain was sent not to developing and poorest countries, but to Europe. According to the UN World Food Program (WFP), only two ships out of 87 were loaded for the most needy countries. In 2021, Western countries accounted for 28% of Ukraine's grain supplies, and in 2022 their share increased to 81%.
"It took three weeks to export the first million tons of Ukrainian grain, later it took a little more than a week to send this volume. Such rates were largely achieved due to the work of Russian specialists, the Russian Foreign Ministry explained. But while the grain deal was working, a line of hundreds of ships to be inspected formed in Turkish territorial waters to get Russian inspectors to work faster and ease control levels.
During the implementation of the "grain initiative," more than 70 ships were detained, some were suspended for regular violations of shipping rules in the sea corridor and attempted smuggling. "Such abuses of the humanitarian corridor cannot be ignored, especially given the ongoing investigation of ways to deliver explosives to organize a terrorist attack on the Crimean bridge," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"Three monkeys" at the UN
All this time, the UN Secretariat resembled three monkeys - "I don't see, I don't hear, I won't say" everything that could contradict Washington's interests. And fertilizers, meanwhile, were becoming more expensive, for Russian manufacturers, the channels for transporting fertilizers to the market were disrupted. In August, Russian Trade Minister Denis Manturov said that in the first half of the year, fertilizer exports from Russia fell by 7%. The share of the Russian Federation in world fertilizer production is approximately 10%, in world trade - about 20%.
The EU Trade Commission on August 10, 2022 published updated information on Russian sanctions, including the rules for the transportation of a number of Russian goods, including fertilizers. Despite declarations on the removal of food and fertilizers from restrictions, Russian suppliers and manufacturers continue to face problems in making bank payments and obtaining insurance, chartering ships and gaining access to ports.
In the ports of Europe, up to 300 thousand tons of Russian-made fertilizers have accumulated, which cannot be exported. Russia is ready to transfer these reserves to countries in need, to do it free of charge. But cargo remains blocked in warehouses in Latvia (80%), Estonia, Belgium and the Netherlands. Russia's own transport capabilities are limited. There are not enough port terminals, the largest Russian fertilizer producers are experiencing difficulties in conducting financial transactions, banks do not accept payments.
Sanctions punish not so much Russia as the countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America, preventing the access of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers to world markets.
It also makes no sense to interfere with fertilizer producers while Europe and the whole world are experiencing their acute shortage. It's like shooting yourself in the foot, "Forbes magazine noted in September.
There is a direct connection between the gas crisis and food supply problems. Europe has cut fertilizer production by two-thirds. About 70% of the cost of producing ammonia fertilizers comes from the cost of natural gas. Rising raw material prices have brought fertilizer-producing plants to a standstill. According to the CRU Group, they lose about $2,000 for every ton of ammonia. At the beginning of 2021, a ton of ammonia cost farmers $250, in 2022 the price increased fivefold.
In August, amid soaring natural gas prices, Norway's Yara International said it was cutting nitrogen fertilizer production. Plans to stop production were announced by Polish Grupa Azoty and PKN Orlen. British CF Fertilizations stopped production in September 2021, citing the cost of raw materials.
Stock up who can
The US enjoys its financial monopoly and increases the purchase of food in world markets, as a result of which prices have increased, and African countries suffer from this. This was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin at a plenary meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club.
Countries dependent on food imports face high interest rates, rising dollar rates and commodity prices. This reduces foreign exchange reserves, limits access to bank payments in dollars. With the dollar rising, poor countries have to pay more for food in their currencies. So the US Federal Reserve is exacerbating the global food crisis.
The grain deal itself has become a screen for replenishing grain reserves by Western countries. In total, according to the UN, as of the last week of October, 390 ships with 8.9 million tons of grain, including 41% of corn, were able to use the humanitarian corridor from the ports of Odessa, South and Chernomorsk.
The geography of the recipients of these goods did not meet the stated goals, half fell on the European Union, Great Britain, Israel and South Korea. States in need, in particular Somalia, Ethiopia, Yemen, Sudan, Afghanistan, received only 3% of food, primarily through the UN World Food Program.
In this regard, the UN leadership has retrained the initiative from humanitarian to commercial, emphasizing the stabilization of world food prices, the Russian diplomatic service said in a statement. At the same time, Sergei Lavrov noted that the part of the transaction responsible for promoting the export of Russian products was not fully implemented.
Over 10.5 million tons of Russian grain (77% - the share of wheat) were sent to Asian countries (62%) and Africa (33%), the diplomatic service added.
In March 2022, world food prices rose, in October they went up again. The reasons were geopolitical and macroeconomic in nature, were not related to the state of the commodity market. First of all, the issue of trillions of dollars and euros contributed to increased demand and competition from the countries of the "golden billion." The expensive dollar limited food purchases to the poorest countries.
In the summer of 2022, a drought hit the world. China is facing its worst and longest heat wave in 60 years. For half of the territory of the European Union, there was a critical lack of moisture. Drought has hit more than 80% of the United States. Bird flu killed millions of chickens and turkeys at this time.
The European Commission predicted crop failure in half of the sown areas, especially in Ireland, Italy, Moldova, Hungary, Romania, and Ukraine. Yields of corn, soybeans, sunflowers fell below the five-year average by 12-16%. Potatoes, whose harvests depend on rains, have suffered more than other crops.
The events around Ukraine highlighted the dual position of the United Nations and the UN Secretariat, showed their dependence on the dominant influence of the countries of the "golden billion" and the United States. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) advocates for everyone to have access to enough nutritious food. But, as the Ukrainian grain deal showed, the UN can help formulate tasks and achieve agreements, but is not able to guarantee their implementation.
Photo: Alexey Bulatov