Since the adoption of the Black Sea grain deal last year, not a single vessel carrying Russian fertilizer has been dispatched, according to Russian news agencies citing the Joint Coordination Center (JCC) for the initiative. The agreement, which enabled fertilizer exports from Russia, was a condition for the UN-brokered deal that allowed for the safe passage of ships carrying Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea. This agreement has been extended several times and is set to expire on Monday.
The JCC stated that despite the agreement allowing the export of Russian fertilizers, including ammonia, no shipments have been made under this initiative. It was also noted that fertilizer exports depend on the condition of a key ammonia pipeline located in Ukraine. However, due to an act of sabotage last month, the status of the pipeline is currently unknown.
The Togliatti-Odessa pipeline, which has been inactive since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict, holds significant importance for agriculture as ammonia is a crucial component of fertilizer production. Moscow has repeatedly demanded that Kiev unblock the pipeline as a condition for renewing the grain deal. However, with the pipeline in its current state, it has hindered the export of Russian fertilizer and posed challenges to the overall success of the agreement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his discontent with the grain deal, stating that it has not addressed the barriers to Russian grain and fertilizer exports. During a conversation with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Putin also noted that the agreement has failed to meet its goal of supplying grain to the poorest nations. As a result, Putin hinted that Moscow may suspend its participation in the grain deal until Western sanctions on its agricultural exports are lifted.
The Joint Coordination Center for the Black Sea Grain Initiative was formed in July 2022 in Istanbul. It comprises representatives from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the United Nations. The center was established with the aim of facilitating cooperation and coordination among the participating countries to ensure the smooth transportation and trade of grain through the Black Sea.
As the expiration date of the Black Sea grain deal approaches, it remains uncertain whether an agreement will be reached to address the concerns raised by Russia. The lack of progress in fulfilling the conditions of the agreement has hindered the export of Russian fertilizer and created a contentious situation between Moscow and Kiev. The coming days will reveal the outcome of negotiations and the future of the grain deal.