Grains of deceit

May 25, 2022


By Nat South

There are several evolving issues that are being watched regarding plans and developments made by the West to open Ukrainian Black Sea commercial ports. A medley of articles has recently popped up on grain shipments from Russia and the grain shortage caused by the conflict. As always, these articles from the corporate Western MSM are part of a propaganda effort to portray Russia in the worst light possible, articles with little or no evidence, just allegations, skewed data or blatantly omitting awkward yet crucial information. This article outlines the developments and issues related to the Ukrainian Black Sea ports, where commercial shipping is trapped and NATO, as well as Ukrainian activities related to Black Sea shipping.

Bear with me as I weave around several distinct topics centered on the non-functioning Ukrainian ports. The main comments are divided in two main parts with an analysis on maritime elements.

Part 1 – Black Sea ports and crop exports

Statement 1: Russia is using blockade of Ukrainian grain exports as a tool of pressure on the entire world.

Statement 2: (from the Economist)

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Statement 3: “Russia is stealing Ukraine’s grain”. Nonsense and unverified allegations.

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Statement 1 and Statement 2

The Western corporate media are masters of deceit, by providing just enough information to create a narrative, but deliberating omitting information or background data that alters the narrative negatively. At first sight, this narrative is so skewed, and many will be quick to dismiss it as nonsense. I would be careful to do this as there is a broader narrative effort being shaped by the U.S., EU and NATO. The implication that there is a global food crisis looming solely due to Ukrainian ports not being able to export crops is exasperating.

Ukraine is still exporting grain crops via Romanian ports, which continue to operate normally, in particular, Constanta as reported by DW, (DW April 2022). It is predicted that 1.5million tons (mmt) of Ukrainian grain will be exported out of Romanian ports in May alone and it is anticipated that 3mmt can be exported in the near future. (Reuters May 2022), (Reuters 24 April 2022)

Although the throughput will not be the same level as Odessa for example. Even Lithuania has said that it can help to export Ukrainian grain through its railway network and ports. Additionally, the use of the Danube as a transportation waterway to EU ports is being done via barges from inland ports, along with proposals for the use of Adriatic ports, (HINA 24 May 2022)

Road transport is being used to take crops to Romania port hubs, it is not as quick either, yet it is being done despite bottlenecks at border points. The Ukrainian rail network is already under pressure with military shipments and the rail infrastructure has consequently been degraded in Russian air strikes and as such can only be used in a limited manner, (Zdopravy cz in Czech).

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