confirmed a report The American Foreign Policy magazine published that Russia will not be able to withdraw from the Ukrainian grain export agreement because it will harm its biggest friends at the current stage. China and Turkey.
The report indicated that China is the largest beneficiary of the grain deal, as it benefited from nearly a quarter of the total exports approved under the deal, noting that it has long been one of the most important customers of Ukrainian grain.
The report quoted Caitlin Welch – director of the Global Food Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies – as saying that China has a strong interest in continuing the grain initiative, and it is one of the largest beneficiaries of it.
The report adds that this is the main problem that burdens Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose hands appear to be tied, especially since Turkey also has an interest in continuing the grain deal.
Alexandra Prokopenko, a former official in the Russian Central Bank, stated that the deal has become a “political burden on Russia”, and it clearly shows that Putin needs Chinese President Xi Jinping and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more than they need him.
According to the report, Russia has tried to pressure to ease the sanctions in return for continuing the deal, but the desire not to offend its main partners makes it difficult for it to achieve what it aspires to.
The magazine quoted former US Department of Agriculture chief economist Joseph Glauber as saying that Russia’s calculations depend on “the extent of its ability to keep its allies happy,” adding, “I think that ending the agreement will be viewed very negatively by China and by developing countries as well.”
The Foreign Policy report stressed that stopping work with the grain agreement means new tensions in the Moscow-Beijing relationship.
On Wednesday, the Turkish president announced the extension of the agreement to export Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea ports for an additional two months, a day before Russia’s possible withdrawal from the agreement due to obstacles it said stood in the way of its exports of grain and fertilizers.
On July 22, 2022, Istanbul witnessed the signing of the “Initiative Document for Safe Shipping of Grains and Foodstuffs from Ukrainian Ports” between Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations.
The agreement included securing stranded grain exports in Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea (eastern Europe) to address the global food shortage, which threatens a humanitarian catastrophe.
The grain export agreement was scheduled to expire on May 18, before the extension agreement was reached.