Putin says practically all Ukraine’s grain has gone to the EU. Is he proper?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed nearly all of grain leaving Ukraine’s reopened ports has gone to the European Union.

Talking at an financial discussion board in Vladivostok on Wednesday, Putin mentioned the exports had gone to the EU as an alternative of poorer international locations around the globe.

He has now threatened to satisfy Turkey to revise the deal that lifted Russia’s blockade on Ukrainian ports in July.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has hit again at Putin and says that tonnes of grain will quickly arrive in Somalia, the place famine is approaching.

In the meantime, the United Nations’ personal figures present that simply over a 3rd of the grain they’ve chartered for launch from Ukraine has gone to the EU.

The UN-brokered deal on grain is without doubt one of the few agreements signed since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, however the blame recreation over the difficulty of world meals safety continues.

What did Putin say?

A number of Russian officers have accused the West of importing most of Ukraine’s grain, however Wednesday was the primary time that Putin had echoed the declare with such sturdy phrases.

He mentioned that, of 87 ships loaded with grain from Ukraine, simply two carried grain for the UN’s World Meals Programme (WFP). In line with Moscow, that quantities to only 60,000 tonnes out of the overall of about 2 million tons leaving Ukrainian ports.

“[The West] cheated the general public and companions in Africa and different areas who acutely want meals,” Putin mentioned.

“They have been claiming that they have been performing within the pursuits of creating international locations, however acted solely in their very own pursuits.”

Because the conflict started in February, numerous African leaders have visited Russia to satisfy with Putin and focus on the affect of the port blockade in Ukraine.

Earlier than the conflict, Ukraine was one of many world’s largest grain exporters, producing sufficient meals to feed 400 million folks per yr, in response to the WFP.

“If we exclude Turkey as an middleman nation, then virtually all of the grain exported from Ukraine is shipped to not the poorest creating international locations, however to European Union international locations,” Putin claimed.

“It’s apparent that with an method like that, the magnitude of the meals drawback on the earth will continue to grow, and that might result in an unprecedented humanitarian disaster,” he added.

The place has the grain gone?

Talking in Istanbul on 22 July, UN Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres mentioned the Black Sea Grain Initiative would deliver reduction to “probably the most susceptible folks on the sting of famine”.

In line with the UN’s Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) – run by the UN, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine – 100 outbound ships have thus far left Ukraine, carrying greater than 2.3 million tonnes of grain.

In a press release to Euronews, the JCC acknowledged that simply 36% of this had gone to European Union international locations, whereas 30% of the cargo has thus far gone to low- and lower-middle-income international locations.

In line with the newest information, 20% of grain went to Turkey, whereas one other 27% was distributed amongst Asian international locations; China (7%), The Republic of Korea (6%), Iran (5%), India (4%), Israel (2%), Yemen (2%), and Lebanon (<1%).

Turkey is a well-liked vacation spot as a result of it’s a main miller of wheat, and the grain arriving there could possibly be then shipped to poorer nations in Asia and Africa, or to Europe. The locations will not be recorded by the JCC.

Of the 36% of produce that went to the EU, 15% reached Spain, whereas Italy (7%), the Netherlands (5%), Romania (4%), Germany (3%), Eire, France (1%), Bulgaria (<1%) and Greece (<1%) have all benefitted.

The remaining 17% of the cargo has reached African international locations; (10%), Sudan (3%), Kenya (2%), Somalia (1%) and Djibouti (1%).

Along with the JCC shipments, industrial vessels leaving Ukraine have carried a spread of meals merchandise together with wheat, corn for animal feed, sunflower meal, soya beans, sunflower oil and sunflower seed.

Meals safety specialists have mentioned many of those shipments are deliveries on present contracts that have been struck earlier than Russia’s invasion, fairly than new shipments which have been earmarked for Europe.

Simply three ships underneath the World Meals Programme

“The target of the Black Sea Grain Initiative is to spice up industrial provides of grain into the market that may assist include and cut back meals costs,” a press release to Euronews learn.

The UN is hoping to help poor households and susceptible populations around the globe, in addition to allow farmers to develop meals at a manageable value.

However whereas no less than 30% of the grain leaving Ukraine has reached international locations in want, Putin is right to say solely a small quantity has been shipped underneath the World Meals Programme.

Thus far, the WFP has chartered simply three vessels to load wheat from Ukraine in help of its humanitarian operations around the globe.

The primary deliberate WFP cargo, which left the Ukrainian port on the Razoni ship in early August, by no means reached its meant port after the preliminary Lebanese purchaser in Tripoli refused the supply, citing a five-month delay. The vessel was left to dump a lot of its 26,000 tonnes of corn on the Syrian port of Tartus.

Just one ship from Ukraine has thus far arrived in sub-Saharan Africa, docking on the port of Djibouti on August 30. An estimated 23,000 tons of grain on that ship will go to drought-affected Somalia and Ethiopia, in response to the WFP.

The UN says the cargo is sufficient to feed 1.5 million folks on full rations for a month, however meals safety specialists say it’s only a drop within the ocean for East Africa’s wants.

Analysts additionally consider it’ll take weeks for folks in African international locations to see grain from Ukraine arrive and even longer to see it deliver down excessive meals costs.

In 2021, two-thirds of the 4.4 million tonnes of meals help distributed around the globe by the WFP got here from Ukraine. Somalia alone had sourced round 90% of its wheat from Ukraine and Russia earlier than 2022.

On Tuesday, Kyiv mentioned that 28,600 tonnes of wheat will arrive in Somalia within the coming weeks.

“Ukraine continues to avoid wasting the world with its grain,” Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter, blaming the approaching famine in North  Africa on Russia’s invasion.

The WFP has a second ship, the MV Karteria, loaded with 37,500 tonnes of wheat for Yemen through Turkey.

“The grain will present a 50-kg bag of wheat flour to almost 4 million folks for one month and can assist WFP tackle fast gaps in help,” a assertion learn.

An estimated 46% of Yemen’s 2021 wheat imports got here from Ukraine and Russia.

One other industrial vessel authorised to depart Ukraine on Wednesday is sure for Kenya with 51,400 metric tons of wheat, the JCC added.

However the WFP has admitted that “export volumes stay far under pre-conflict averages” and time could also be operating out.

The July settlement brokered by the UN and Turkey solely lasts for 120 days. If Russia continues to press for a revision, the deal will not be prolonged after November.

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