Ukraine accuses Russia of delaying inspections of ships under grain deal

Ukraine's Infrastructure Ministry said on Dec. 26 that some of the ships that had set sail from Ukraine under the grain initiative had been stuck in Turkish waters awaiting inspection for over a month. Ukraine accused the Russian delegation of deliberately stalling the process.

In total, 99 vessels are currently waiting for inspection in the Bosphorus Strait, with 72 of them headed west to be loaded at ports and 27 already carrying Ukrainian agricultural products.

"This is the result of purposeful actions of the Russian delegation in the Joint Coordination Center aimed at slowing down the process of ship inspections," said the Infrastructure Ministry.

The ships were sent under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a U.N.-backed deal signed in July by Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey, which aimed to unblock Ukrainian grain exports amid Russia's invasion of the country. The Joint Coordination Center was established to coordinate the implementation of the deal, and each party to the agreement has representatives within it.

Earlier in the day, Turkish Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu said that over 15 million tons of products have left Ukraine through the agreement since August. Some 44% of all products exported were delivered to Europe, 29% were sent to Asia, 15% to Turkey, and 12% to African countries.