Turkey: Terminating the Grain Agreement Will Hit the EU First

Russia immediately withdrew all security guarantees. The announcement was made a few hours after the new terrorist attack against the Crimean bridge. The Kremlin said, however, that the blast, which claimed the lives of two people, “did not affect the decision regarding the grain.”

In addition to Ukraine, which as of today may lose $500 million per month, blocking the agreement on Black Sea grain will severely hit primarily the European Union, China, and Turkey. This was stated to the TASS news agency, on condition of anonymity, by a “very well-informed” source in the Ankara government.

“If the agreement is really and completely cancelled,” the source said, “we must prepare for the rapid rise in international grain prices; the process will hit the EU countries hard, primarily Germany, but also China and Turkey.” This conclusion, emphasized the TASS agency source, is due to the fact that over the past 12 months these countries have accumulated the major part of Ukrainian grain exported under the agreement that was signed on July 22, 2022 in Istanbul by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and guaranteed by the United Nations.

Moscow said today that there are no more effective reasons for a fourth extension of the deal, because some of Russia’s agro-industrial exports “have never been fulfilled.” Russian President Vladimir Putin also said that only 4% of Ukrainian grain was sent to the neediest countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and the lion’s share ended up in the warehouses of Western countries.

The Turkish expert said that he “expects grain prices to skyrocket in global markets,” which will be one of the most acute problems for many countries, as well as for Ukraine, which will face a hole in the budget worth half a billion dollars. “This will also be a problem for African countries, but definitely to a lesser extent, because for all these months they have received just a tiny part of Ukrainian grain,” the expert said.

Before leaving today for a political tour around the Gulf states, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that he “has done everything and more” to save the grain deal. “The Black Sea Initiative, which is about to turn a year old, will go down in history as a victory for diplomacy. Thanks to the initiative, more than 33 million tons of agricultural products have been exported,” the Turkish leader said.

On July 17, Moscow announced that “in fact, today the Black Sea grain agreement has ceased to work.” All security guarantees were immediately withdrawn. “Unfortunately, the Russian part has not yet been implemented, so it has expired. As soon as the Russian part of the agreement is satisfied, Russia will immediately return to the implementation of the deal,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

For his part, the Turkish president stated that he believes Putin would like to let the deal continue to work. “I think my friend Putin wants this humanitarian bridge to continue its operation, and I will talk to the Russian president as soon as I return from the tour,” said Erdogan, according to whom “the grain agreement may return to force as early as August after consultations with Putin.”