KYIV, UKRAINE — Ukraine said it has alternate ways of transporting grain if the Black Sea agreement is not extended on May 18, Reuters reported.
The agriculture ministry said not extending the agreement, as Russia has threatened, would not be an “apocalyptic scenario.”
The Black Sea Grain Initiative was brokered last July by the United Nations and Turkey after Russia’s invasion last February blockaded Ukrainian Black Sea ports. Russia has said it won’t extend the deal unless its demands are met to remove obstacles for its own grain and fertilizer exports.
“We do not envisage any apocalyptic scenario due to a million circumstances,” Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky was quoted by his ministry as saying late on May 8. “Ukrainian farmers and Ukrainian traders have shown that they can do a lot, and a lot of (export) routes can be laid.”
The United Nations said that so far nearly 30 million tonnes of grain and foodstuffs had been exported from Ukraine under the Black Sea deal, including nearly 600,000 tonnes of grain in World Food Programme vessels for aid operations in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Yemen.
Ukraine also exports grain via Danube River ports and has said previously that what is known as the Danube Cluster offers a viable alternative export route.