Ukraine is considering allowing Russian ammonia transit in exchange for an expanded Black Sea Grains Agreement Ship’s crew

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By Pavel Polityuk

KIEV, May 19 (Reuters) – Kiev would consider allowing Russian ammonia to transit its territory for export on condition that the newly renewed Black Sea Grains Agreement is extended to more Ukrainian ports and a wider range of goods, a government source told Reuters.

The comments are the first time Kiev has publicly spelled out its stance on Russian ammonia, which Moscow plans to transport under the Black Sea agreement.

The Black Sea Grains Initiative, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations last July, facilitates “safe shipping for the export of grain and related food and fertilizers, including ammonia” from three Ukrainian ports.

The Ukrainian government source, who asked not to be named, told Reuters that the text of the agreement does not refer to the transit of Russian ammonia through Ukraine.

Russia, a major ammonia exporter, is pushing to resume ammonia supplies via a pipeline from Russia’s Togliati to the Black Sea port of Pivdennyi near Odessa, which is expected to pump up to 2.5 million tons of ammonia annually.

Russia exported 4.4 million tons of ammonia annually – 20% of the world’s maritime trade – before invading Ukraine in February last year.

The United Nations has also supported the resumption of ammonia shipments through the pipeline to contribute to global food security.

Despite Russian threats to pull out of the deal, the Black Sea Agreement was extended by two months on Wednesday, a day before it expires.

MORE PORTS, MORE GOODS

Only three of Ukraine’s largest Black Sea ports are included in the agreement. Kiev has repeatedly said it would like the agreement to cover more goods and ports.

The government source said the text agreed on Wednesday made no mention of the Togliati-Odessa ammonia pipeline and its transit, and that another agreement would be needed if the Ukraine route was to be covered. In return, Ukraine would make demands.

“We say this: If it (the deal) includes an ammonia pipeline, then Ukraine should get some additional things that serve our national interests,” the source said.

“This is the extension of the geography of the agreement and the list of goods (for export via the corridor). Then that could serve the interests of our country.”

The source did not specify the additional goods that Ukraine wanted to include.

Officials have previously said the country, which used to export steel across the Black Sea, is now required to export steel products as well.

(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Tom Balmforth and Barbara Lewis)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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