Ukraine grain export deal under scrutiny

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Ukraine grain export deal under scrutiny

The United Nations stressed that the export deal is a humanitarian operation and will be driven by the market. Russian concerns that they could be smuggled weapons into Ukraine are what are required for all ships to be inspected.

Kenney said we're going to do a comprehensive review of procedures early next week to see what needs to be tweaked and improved.

The United Nations says the deal is intended to help ease the global food crisis that Russia has worsened due to Russia's war in Ukraine and has pushed tens of millions more people into hunger. Ukraine and Russia are both major wheat exporters.

Kenney said the current priority was to free up pier space at the three ports covered by the deal - Odesa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhny - so new ships could come in and load cargo. There have been no wheat shipments yet with departing vessels carrying corn, soybeans and sunflower oil and meal.

Kenney said the three ports were essentially frozen on February 24. There was a different harvest coming in, it was primarily corn. He said the silos are full of corn.

Ukraine has 20 million tons of grain left over from last year's crop and this year's wheat harvest, which is estimated to be 20 million tons.

It is imperative that we get those ships out so that we can bring them in to load cargoes that will be destined for ports that will contribute to reducing global food insecurity. Kenney said that any ship that goes out with Ukrainian grain is going to help the situation.

He said ship owners had shown great interest and there were a number of empty grain vessels anchored in Turkey waiting for sales to be arranged so they could travel to Ukraine to collect cargo.