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Ukraine accuses Russia of deliberately slowing grain shipments

Ukraine accuses Russia of deliberately slowing grain shipments

Ukraine’s Infrastructure Ministry has said that the pace of grain exports from Ukrainian seaports has fallen to the lowest level since the launch of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

From the beginning of 2023, 2-3 ships departed the ports under the UN-brokered agreement. Currently, the average has fallen to 2.5, an all-time low. The ministry blames the slow pace of exports on Russian stonewalling during the inspection process.

The time that ships are having to wait for inspections at a monitoring center in Istanbul has risen to between 10 and 15 days since mid-September, according to grain research firm SovEcon, up from five to six days in the first six weeks of the deal.

The delays have prompted calls for more inspectors to the five teams which include representatives from Russia, Ukraine, Türkiye, and the UN, Financial Times reported.

Russia had been reluctant to send additional inspectors to help clear the backlog, sources told FT.

Yuriy Vaskov, Ukraine’s deputy infrastructure minister, has said that there is no decision from all the members of the monitoring center to increase the number of inspections to avoid congestion of the vessels waiting for inspection.

The number of vessels waiting to sail to or from Ukrainian ports reached a record high of 120 at the end of last week, prompting accusations of Russia’s attempts to create food crisis.

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