British intelligence explains what the Kremlin is seeking by blocking the grain deal

Grain deal

Despite the extension of the grain deal for 60 days in mid-May, Russia continues to impede Ukrainian grain exports, delaying inspections and blocking some ships. While in autumn 6-8 ships were inspected per day, this figure has now dropped to 1-2.

It is clear that the aggressor state is trying to obtain concessions in the export of Russian ammonia, and blackmail will only increase closer to the deadline for the next extension of the agreement on July 16. This was stated by the UK Ministry of Defence.

The British Defence Ministry recalls that the Black Sea Grain Initiative was extended for another 60 days on 17 May 2023. And Russia, as usual, almost immediately began to violate its obligations.

"Russia is almost certainly continuing to impede grain exports by deliberately slowing down inspections and actively blocking some vessels. So far, only one or two vessels are being inspected per day, compared to six to eight in the autumn of 2022," the UK MoD said in a report.

The British defence ministry sees the reasons for Russia's destructive actions as Russia's attempt to resume exporting its ammonia to Europe, which was previously supplied through the Togliatti-Odesa pipeline. After the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, this pipeline stopped working. And recently, the Russian occupiers have also boasted that they have damaged it, making it impossible to launch, which, according to the British Ministry of Defence, complicates an already difficult situation.

"It is likely that Russian rhetoric and obstruction of the BSGI will be heard in the weeks leading up to the next final extension deadline of July 16, 2023," the British Ministry of Defence predicted.


As a reminder, Ukraine has previously named its conditions under which it would agree to export ammonia from Russia. Last autumn, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that such a condition would be an exchange of prisoners in the "all-for-all" format. In May, Western media reported that Ukraine would consider the transit of Russian ammonia only if the grain deal was expanded to include new products.

However, on June 5, it became known that the occupiers had damaged an ammonia pipeline in the Kupyansk district, causing it to depressurise. An emergency response centre was set up in the region. All relevant services started working on the spot.

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