Russia has de facto Terminated the Black Sea Grain Initiative


Although the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) is due to expire on May 18th, the Russian Federation is refusing to register incoming vessels and is deliberately delaying inspections.  Ukraine maintains that 90 vessels, including 62 that are awaiting loading, are anchored in the territorial waters of Turkey.


The Initiative was negotiated in July 2022, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, allowing export of grain from Ukraine to be shipped through still-functioning Black Sea ports.


It is clear that Russia did not achieve its objective of easing sanctions by coercion and accordingly, will attempt to block grain shipments that are required by consumers in North Africa and other areas that relied on wheat and other grains from Ukraine. Recent action by the Russian Federation with respect to the BSGI is part of the campaign of economic warfare waged against Ukraine, adding to the hostilities involving indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and nonmilitary targets.


It is now up to the E.U. nations and those willing to support Ukraine to establish and maintain free passage of grain vessels in the Black Sea. This will require a convoy system protected by naval vessels reminiscent of the multinational approach to free-passage through the Straits of Hormuz in 2019.