Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Unravelling Insights of Russia-Ukraine Grain Deal: Strategic Flashpoint at Black Sea

July 2022 marked the commemoration of the Russia-Ukraine Grain Deal over the maritime exports of crops through the Black Sea. The war in between was not near to being sorted but within the supervision of Turkey and the United Nations, Russia was ready to go for bargain with Ukraine. The highlights rendered Russian authorities from obstructing safe passageways for Ukraine cargoes leading to Dardanelle Straits for global export reach. The agreed Ukrainian ports of interest included the Ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi. Additionally, it provided consent for cargo inspection for holding mutual trust over grain export with Russia. While United Nations showed up the affirmed spirit to dissolve the major sanctions over Russian export sectors to aid the deal reasonably.

It however remained in the global view as a Humanitarian corridor for those countries which were at the edge of starvation and hyper-inflation because of heavy dependence over Ukraine for importing grains. The crops were essentially staple source of diet counting as basic food commodity for the recipient countries. On the other hand, the failing competitors of European markets eased out because of food cargoes exports were moving out of European theatres. This unusual reality was made clear to Ukraine after European Union banned its crop items from entering the European markets out of saturation fear. This raised the proportionate reason of grain deal holding value of survival perspective for Ukraine as well. This humanitarian corridor of grain deal was equally important for Ukraine because the traded items contribute to the economy and without it Ukraine was failing otherwise.

The Russia-Ukraine Bargain went smooth in the beginning while considering the harsh reality of war at ground but not for longer. It faced the critical blow of Russian dissatisfaction over response of International authorities regarding selective lift of sanctions over major trade handles. Russia eventually declared its withdrawal from the deal in July 2023 while presenting the un-awarded speculation of United Nations over lifting sanctions from Russian Agriculture Bank as its point of clash. The bottom gesture was to exploit Ukraine over strategic advantages at battleground by denying the mutually quoted export deal. Russia is primarily seeking ruptured spot for decisive win over Ukraine through this rift.

Post-Russia exemption from the export deal at Black Sea, Ukraine is still in the spirits of optimism. It is actively seeking ways to make the Russian disowned humanitarian corridor functional again in order to stretch out the chaotic windings at Black sea. The international authorities of peace recommends Ukraine to avoid any un-negotiated activity of maritime commerce via Black sea which resonates serious threats of stationary and moving sea mines. It otherwise will likely prevail as a maritime distress. Moreover, the legal records will favor Russia for pre-notification of defied course from the deal once agreed before.

It has brought Russia and Ukraine at the verge of Strategic stalemate while bothered to challenge deterrent of war in Black Sea. Since the Russian declared idea of abandoning further permission to maritime commerce over Black Sea has put Ukraine in the dilemma of taking the chance. International beholders of peace are worried for the eruption of nuclear flashpoint over black sea. Or at least it might fuel the on-going tussle over the homeland of Ukraine. Under serious circumstances of wartime, shunning or obstructing maritime commerce of a country is similar to impose siege over it and Ukraine is critically under fire of Russian play of indirect war. Both countries have huge difference of strategic muscularity and the in-decisive nature of stalemate has brought Russia to phase out ease at Black Sea in order to raise geo-political temperature of concern.

In this high time of Russia-Ukraine war, it is also being speculated that the order of United Nations Clause for Law of Sea (UNCLOS) is under serious threat especially when the Ukraine rights of navigation are exploited. In this regard, the spell of Russian hard measures to shape the contours of Maritime trade of Ukraine for the purpose of strategic advantage is asserting its extent of influence against international system equally.

But the alarming source of strategic anxiety embeds more in Ukraine’s course of action in exploring the Grain Deal against Russian exclusive measures of strategic response after it has withdrawn from the deal. There shall be prevalence of serious implications in terms of prolonging strategic facing at Black Sea. In this light, the strait of negotiation over Grain deal is further narrowing down considering the fact that Ukraine has met with the dilemma of survival concerns and international system is facing the limitation of convincing Russia either by stick or carrot.

In a nutshell, the humanitarian corridor of Grain Deal at Black Sea is speculated under serious threats of apprehensions. It has been subjected to Russian course of denial for mutual cooperation in wartime. Apparently, the strategic atmosphere at Black Sea for the purpose of Law and order has gone soar under the overhang of denied access. The situation is sensitive for the regulators of Peace in the region especially when Ukraine is in spirits to test the Russian strip wires at Black Sea out of fear regarding economic pitfalls.



Seerat Fatima

Seerat Fatima is the scholar of Defence and Nuclear Studies. Her affiliation with National Defence University is quoted for BS enrolled program of Strategic Studies. The area of Interest lies in deep analysis of International geo-political affairs and influence of new technologies over the concept of deterrence.

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