EU Fails To Comply W. Grain-Export Deal; Russia Will Do Likewise Starting March 18

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On Saturday, March 4th, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, at the G20 meeting in Delhi, announced that because the EU has refused to comply with its side of the U.N.-brokered 27 July 2022 “Grain [and fertilizer] Deal” that the U.N. brokered in Istanbul on 27 July 2022, Russia will likewise not comply with it, starting on March 18th.

On February 8th, Reuters had headlined “Russia: EU not fulfilling promises on grain deal”, and reported that the deal was in jeopardy because of the EU’s continued violations of it that were supplying super-inexpensive food to the EU while continuing to block food going to Africa — for which latter purpose the deal had been mainly designed.

Then, on Saturday March 4th, Russia’s Tsargrad news site headlined “THE REJECTION OF THE GRAIN DEAL WILL FORCE RUSSIA TO RESOLVE THE ISSUE OF ODESSA. AND THIS IS A SIGNIFICANT EVENT.” By implication, it was interpreting Lavrov’s statement to reflect that Ukraine’s main Black Sea port of Odessa (which has historically been overwhelmingly pro-Russian), which is the port through which Ukraine’s agricultural exports are shipped, might soon be taken over by Russia, because the EU’s using it to provide economic benefits to the EU and to Ukraine while starving and/or soaring food-cost inflation in Africa, will no longer continue to be tolerated by Russia. In other words: Africa — and Russia were being cheated by the EU and Ukraine, and will cease that, starting March 18th.

Grain-Export DealOn March 3rd, Tsargrad had bannered “AMMONIA INSTEAD OF WHEAT. WHAT WILL RUSSIA GAIN BY BREAKING THE “GRAIN DEAL”, and it explained that:

The grain deal, about the need for which “our Western partners” spoke so much, can be terminated without any possibility of renewal in the near future. If this happens, then Ukraine will lose the opportunity to earn money on dumped wheat exports, Turkey will lose a fair amount of profits from participating in the transit of this grain and a fair amount of political influence as an intermediary between Russia and its opponents. The European Union will lose a significant part of the grain in its market – the very one that it had promised the poorest African countries would be the deal’s primary beneficiaries, but which turned out to be much more necessary for EU bakers and confectioners, instead of gto Africans who need bread and fertilizers.

In general, it will be bad for everyone. Except Russia. Russia will not lose anything, because it didn’t gain anything from the deal.

If Russia takes over Odessa, then Ukraine could very well become an entirely land-locked country, without its only sea-access, which now is via Odessa. The EU and Ukraine would have — by their refusals to comply with the grain deal — considerably increased that likelihood (which would harm the longer-term interests both of Ukraine and the EU).

In any case, the status of Odessa is now going to be a far more important issue in this war that it had been until now. It will no longer be an issue for Africa, because the July 27th deal didn’t benefit Africa at all (which it had been promised to do). Odessa will instead be purely an issue between Ukraine and Russia.

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