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U.N. Warns of New Threat to Global Food Security After Russia Limits Ukraine Grain Shipments

A farmer collects harvest on his field ten kilometres from the front line in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine, on July 4, 2022, (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)
A farmer collects harvest on his field ten kilometres from the front line in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine, on July 4, 2022, (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

Warning of a new threat to global food security, the United Nations said Thursday that Russia is limiting the number of ships allowed to pick up Ukrainian grain at Black Sea ports in its campaign to get Kyiv to open a pipeline for a key ingredient of fertilizer to get to world markets.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric expressed serious concern that only 33 ships departed from Ukrainian ports in May, half the number compared to April, and exports of grain and other foodstuffs totaled just 1.3 million metric tons last month, less than half the amount of the previous month.

He said Russia informed the center in Istanbul coordinating the arrivals, departures and inspections of ships involved in the Black Sea Grain Initiative “of its decision to limit registrations in the port of Yuzhny as long as ammonia is not exported, and currently it’s not.”

Ammonia is a key ingredient for fertilizer and Moscow wants Ukraine to open a pipeline from the Russian city of Togliatti to the Ukrainian port of Odesa that it used before the war to ship ammonia to its global customers.

Turkey and the U.N. brokered the breakthrough initiative with Russia and Ukraine last July, opening a path for Ukrainian grain exports from three of its key Black Sea ports: Odesa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny.

Related Story: U.S. Turns to China to Help End War in Ukraine

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