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Black Sea grain deal stalled by Russia, says Ukraine

In related news, Ukraine prepares to ban imports from Moldova after that country imposes restrictions on Ukrainian ag exports.

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Russia has effectively stopped the Black sea grain deal by refusing to register incoming vessels, Ukraine's reconstruction ministry told Reuters on Monday.

 Ukraine's reconstruction ministry said 90 ships, including 62 vessels for loading, were waiting in Turkey's territorial waters for approval to go to Ukrainian ports.

Ukrainian Black Sea ports were blockaded after Russia's invasion last year, but access to three of them was cleared last July under a deal between Moscow and Kyiv that was brokered by the United Nations (UN) and Turkey. 

After several extensions, the deal is set to expire on May 18. Russia has threatened to withdraw from the grain initiative several times if its objectives are not met.

No new ships authorized last Friday

On May 5, Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN failed to authorize any new ships under the deal.

In an excerpt of a letter seen by Reuters in April, Russia said it will not approve any new vessels to take part unless their operators guarantee the transits will be done by May 18.

Under the accord, Ukraine has been able to export 29.5 million tonnes of agricultural products, including 14.9 million tonnes of corn and 8.1 million tonnes of wheat. 

The deputy defense ministers of Russia, Ukraine and Turkey are due to meet next week to discuss the grains agreement.

Ukraine prepares to ban imports from Moldova

The government of Moldova, Ukraine’s neighboring country, is considering joining an EU ban on Ukrainian grain, the Agriculture Minister of Moldova Vladimir Bolea told the Euromaidan Press following a meeting with the Ukrainian Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food.

In response to the restrictions imposed by Moldova against Ukrainian agricultural exports, Ukraine is preparing a resolution banning Moldovan imports.

"We have informed Chisinau that any restriction on the part of Moldova will be considered an extremely unfriendly step and will entail an immediate ban on all imports from Moldova," Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture Taras Kachka told the Yevropeiska Pravda.

Like other countries concerned with the influx of low-priced Ukrainian grain, Bolea said there is a significant amount of grain in Moldovan storage facilities, which raises concerns among local farmers about the potential lack of space for the new harvest in Moldova.

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