July 26, 2023

Ukraine Defense Intelligence Agency: Russia draws lesson from suspended grain agreement on how to thwart Ukrainian exports

Ukraine Defense Ministry

А Classified Report for kremlin’s Top Leadership, Which Contains Information on Breakdown of Grain Agreement

A classified final report “On the work of the russian part of the joint coordination center during the implementation of the Initiative” has been prepared for russia’s top military and political leadership. In general, the text of the document is devoted to the technologies used to impede the implementation of the grain corridor and, as a result, led to the final breakdown of the agreement.

According to the Report, the so-called “joint coordination centre” saw its main task as minimising the volume of grain exported under the grain agreement. In particular, the document states: “High-quality inspection of vessels was also one of the key elements in curbing the uncontrolled growth of grain exports from Ukrainian ports. The activities of the russian inspectors were conducted in strict accordance with the developed methodological documents on the organisation of ship inspections. As a result of the inspections, 46 vessels were restricted from participating in the Initiative, and 303 vessels were restricted for a total of 342 days”.

The measures to disrupt the Black Sea Grain Initiative were divided into several stages. At the first stage, on the initiative of the russian president, russia’s participation in the grain agreement was suspended from 10 October 2022 to 3 November 2022. According to the document, this led to a drop in grain exports from 4.2 million tonnes in October to 2.6 million tonnes in November. The next stage included measures to restrict the access of ships to the port of Pivdennyi, reduce the number of inspection teams (no more than two), and stop the registration of grain carriers.

This allowed russians to “effectively restrain the number of ships heading to Ukrainian ports and significantly limit the volume of food exports from Ukraine, which in general led to Kyiv’s inability to export about 20 million tonnes of cargo”. russians report that “the smallest amount of food exported from Ukrainian ports (7.8 million tonnes) occurred during the third stage of the Black Sea Grain Initiative (from 19 March to 17 July 2023).

Special attention was paid to the disruption of grain supplies under the World Food Programme: “Ukrainian attempts to use the Black Sea Initiative to continue the so-called ‘Grain from Ukraine’ programme involving vessels chartered under the World Food Programme have been stopped. Such vessels were registered only after submitting written commitments not to participate in such actions”.

The authors of the report conclude: “The accumulated archive of knowledge will allow, when solving similar problems, to achieve a high level of efficiency in the shortest possible time”.

If the Grain Agreement is extended, russians will use all the accumulated “experience” to effectively disrupt the agreements.

The document shows that all actions to disrupt the Grain Agreement are part of a single, pre-designed plan, and the targeted shelling of Ukrainian port infrastructure is just another step in its implementation.

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