Russia terminates the Black Sea Grain Initiative: What’s next for Ukraine and the world?

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by Joseph Glauber, Brian McNamara, and Elsa Olivetti

On July 17, Russia announced that it was terminating participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allowed exports of grains and other agricultural products from Ukrainian ports.

The deal, put in place almost a year before, was scheduled for its fourth renewal. Within hours of the announcement, Russia launched a missile attack on the port of Odesa. The following day, Russian missile attacks on key Ukraine grain handling facilities sent wheat futures prices to their largest one-day rise since February 2022. A cargo insurer operating under the agreement reportedly suspended its coverage of Ukraine Black Sea grain shipments.

The suspension drew international dismay. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said halting the grain exports, including food assistance shipments, “will strike a blow to people in need everywhere.” A top Kenyan official called it a “stab in the back.” Meanwhile, Russia justified the action complaining that related discussions on reopening the Tolyatti-Pivdennyi ammonia pipeline and allowing Russian agricultural banks to use the SWIFT banking system to finance food and fertilizer purchases by developing countries had stalled.

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