Latest news on the war between Russia and Ukraine: live updates

Credit…Nicole Tung for The New York Times

BRUSSELS — There are many moving parts to the grain deal reached between Russia and Ukraine, which officials didn’t think was possible until mid-June, especially as the war continues and trust between the sides is extremely low.

Here’s what you need to know about the pimple problem and how it might be tackled now.

Why was Ukrainian grain trapped inside the country?

After Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, it deployed warships along Ukraine’s Black Sea coast. Ukraine extracted those waters to deter a Russian naval attack. That meant ports used to export Ukrainian grain were blocked from commercial shipping. Russia also stole grain stocks, mined grain fields so they could not be harvested, and destroyed grain storage facilities.

Credit…Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

How will the operation work?

The Ukrainian captains will take out the ships full of grain from the ports of Odessa, Yuzhne and Chornomorsk.

A joint command center with officials from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations will immediately be established in Istanbul to monitor every movement of the flotillas.

Note: The arrow highlights the general direction of travel; does not represent a

exact path. Source: European and other government officials

Note: The arrow highlights the general direction of travel; does not represent a

exact path. Source: European and other government officials

The ships will head to Turkish waters, to be inspected by a joint team of Turkish, UN, Ukrainian and Russian officials, then deliver their cargo to destinations around the world, returning for another inspection by the joint team before heading back. to Ukraine.

The agreement specifies that the main responsibility of the inspection team is to check “unauthorized cargo and personnel on board ships entering or leaving Ukrainian ports.” A key Russian demand was that returning ships not carry weapons to Ukraine.

The parties have agreed that the ships and port facilities used for their operations will be protected from hostilities.

The operation is expected to quickly begin shipping five million tons of grain per month. At that rate, and considering that 2.5 million tons are already being transported by land and river to Ukraine’s friendly neighbors, the stockpiles of almost 20 million tons should be eliminated within three to four months. This will free up space in the storage facilities for the new harvest that is already underway in Ukraine.

What are the risks?

No broad ceasefire has been negotiated, so the ships will travel through a war zone. Attacks near the ships or in the ports they use could unravel the deal. Another risk would be a breach of trust or a disagreement between the inspectors and the officers of the joint command.

The role of the United Nations and Turkey is to mediate such disagreements on the spot and to monitor and enforce the agreement. The agreement is valid for 120 days and the UN expects it to be renewed.

Credit…Sergei Bobok/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Will this immediately solve world hunger and lower food prices?

No. Global hunger is an ongoing problem caused by poor food distribution and price gouging, affecting some parts of the world year after year. It is often exacerbated by conflict and has also been affected by climate change. The war in Ukraine, which produces much of the world’s wheat, has added a huge burden to grain distribution networks, driving up prices and fueling hunger.

Officials say the deal has the potential to increase the flow of wheat to Somalia in a matter of weeks, averting a full-blown famine, and should lead to a gradual decline in world grain prices. But considering the fragility of the deal, grain markets are unlikely to return to normal immediately.

What’s in it for Russia?

Russia is also a major exporter of grain and fertilizer, and the deal should make it easier to sell these products on the world market.

The Kremlin has repeatedly claimed that its stocks cannot be exported due to sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union.

In fact, the measures do not affect those goods, but private shipping companies, insurers, banks and other companies have been reluctant to help Russia export grains and fertilizers, fearing that they might break sanctions or what to do. doing business with Russia could damage your reputation. .

Offering reassurance, the European Union on July 21 issued a legal clarification to its sanctions saying that various banks and other companies involved in the grain trade were not in fact prohibited.

The United Nations said that, armed with similar assurances from the United States, it held talks with the private sector and that Russia’s trade, especially the Russian port of Novorossiysk, should be speeded up.


July 22, 2022

An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the process agreed upon by Ukraine and Russia for bulk carriers. The ships will carry their cargo to various destinations and return to Ukrainian ports, stopping for inspections in Turkey. Your cargo will not necessarily be unloaded in Turkey to be transported to its destination by other ships.

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