Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that Russia was prepared to allow “unhindered” grain exports from Ukraine ports in coordination with Turkey, Reuters reported from a Kremlin account of talks between Putin and Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan.
However, a Russian attack on silos at the Ukrainian port of Mykolaiv has raised doubts about the likelihood that Russia will allow Ukrainian crop exports, according to a 6 June AgriCensus report.
"Traders are losing confidence Russia will live up to their expectations to allow Ukraine to export grain, after two warehouses with sunflower meal at Nikatera (Ukraine) were hit by a rocket over the weekend," Terry Reilly, senior grain and oilseed commodity analyst at Futures International, said.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the prices of grain, cooking oil, fertiliser and energy have soared.
The United Nations (UN), which says a global food crisis is deepening, is trying to broker a deal to unblock Ukraine's grain exports although Western leaders have blamed Russia for holding the world to ransom by blockading Ukrainian ports, according to the 30 May Reuters report.
“During the discussion of the situation in Ukraine, emphasis was placed on ensuring safe navigation in the Black and Azov seas and eliminating the mine threat in their waters,” the Kremlin reportedly said of the talks between Putin and Erdogan.
Putin, according to the Kremlin account, had added that if sanctions against Russia were lifted, it would allow Russia to “export significant volumes of fertilisers and agricultural products.”
It was not immediately clear which Ukrainian ports Putin was speaking about, Reuters wrote. Ukraine's main grain export ports include Chornomorsk, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Kherson and Yuzhny.
Erdogan said that Turkey was ready to support any peace efforts between Ukraine and Russia, adding that Turkey was prepared to take on the role of third-party observer to ensure that any agreement followed by both sides once reached.
Against this backdrop, the UN and the Russian government have had “constructive discussions” aimed at increasing grain and fertiliser exports from Russia to global markets, Reuters reported UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric as saying.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterresis is trying to broker what he calls a “package deal” to resume both Ukrainian food exports and Russian food and fertiliser exports, according to the 31 May report.
Meanwhile, South Korean grain trader POSCO International Corp announced on 2 June it had partially resumed operations at its grain terminal in the Ukrainian port city of Mykolaiv, World Grain reported on 3 June.
The company said it had shipped approximately 2,000 tonnes of wheat through land routes such as Izov, Vadul-Siret and Uzhgorod, while ship routes remained closed due to the blockade of the Black Sea port.
At the time of the report, POSCO said its terminal held 115,000 tonnes of grains, including wheat, corn and barley.