Ukraine’s “Plan B” excludes Russia from the grain deal and offers insurance to carriers
Ukraine will be ready to continue exporting grain through the Black Sea under a “plan B” without Russian involvement if Moscow pulls out of the current grain export agreement and it collapses, Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky said in an interview with Reuters on June 2.
According to Solsky, Russia has already blocked the use of Ukraine’s main Black Sea port, Pivdennyi, and, despite the agreement, allows only one ship a day to deliver Ukrainian food from it to certain countries.
“The latest actions that have been taking place there over the course of yesterday, the day before yesterday, today, are more indicative of the fact that in fact it only legally looks like this corridor is working, but in fact nothing special is happening there,” Solsky said.
The minister said that if the situation remains unchanged in the future, “we will be ready for plan B, which depends on us, depends on the UN,” and added that “plan B… excludes the fourth party (Russia) in these relations.”
According to Solsky, the Ukrainian government can offer insurance guarantees for the transportation companies. He said that the government has already created a special insurance fund of about $547 million for companies whose ships will call at Ukrainian Black Sea ports under the new agreement.
“If we are completely blocked, and this has almost happened, then carriers can go through this corridor, having guaranteed insurance from our government,” Solsky said.
He added that shipowners can be “reasonably confident” that the Ukrainian military and its air defense “can do their job.”
Solsky said that Ukraine still hopes that the current Black Sea Grain Initiative will work despite the current difficulties, while any new version will require a new agreement or a new format.
“Since from a legal point of view the first format works and we have hope for it, we will try to make it work, and if we have nothing to lose, then obviously we will discuss the details of the “plan B”,” the minister said.
As a reminder, Russia has announced that it will block the passage of ships to the Pivdennyi port until Ukraine launches the Odesa-Togliatti ammonia pipeline. The blockade has been in place since the grain deal was renewed on May 18. Deputy Minister of Community Development, Territories and Infrastructure of Ukraine Yuriy Vaskov said that Ukraine has not committed to launching the ammonia pipeline, but said that the UN has signed a memorandum with Russia that provides for this.
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