Inside the “Black Sea Grain Initiative”: Why Russia Lifted Its Blockade of Ukraine

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On July 22, 2022, Ukraine and Russia signed the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Under the terms of the deal, Ukraine can now export grain and other agricultural products out of its ports without Russian interference. Ukrainian exports of wheat alone top $3.6 billion per year, making this a huge win for Kyiv.

But will it hold up? Is this just a trick from Russia? Or are there good reasons for Putin to follow through on the deal out of his own self-interest?

0:00 Russia’s Blockade on Ukraine
0:59 How the Black Sea Grain Initiative Works
2:06 Is This a Russian Trap?
4:49 Initial Successes
5:54 Russia’s Side Deal
6:39 Negotiating a Broader Settlement
8:33 Maintaining Russian Popularity
10:39 Oil Price Retaliation
13:42 John Kerry Likes Donuts

The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

Images licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (

By Ilia:

By Ministry of Defense of Ukraine:

Images licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (

By Ukrinform TV:

Images licensed under CC BY 4.0 (


Images licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 (

By AntanO:


40 thoughts on “Inside the “Black Sea Grain Initiative”: Why Russia Lifted Its Blockade of Ukraine”

  1. 10:25 Officially Pakistan has been neutral, but I believe it was after this video was released that it came out that Pakistan has been secretly providing mortar shells to Ukraine with Britain acting as the intermediary. Pakistan has traditionally aligned itself with the western bloc against the Soviets/ Russia since the early days of the Cold War, and continued to help the US war on terror afterwards, to the cost of tens of thousands of Pakistani lives. They’ve also got historical bad blood with the Russians themselves, so their ‘official’ stance of neutrality is so they can try to secure cheap Russia natural gas and/ or oil. They’re trying to walk a fine line between helping stick it to the Russians, but also getting reliable fuel from them at low cost. Bit of a pickle, I guess.

  2. 2:36 Every time I hear the phrase "in principle," I am reminded of the answers to questions sent to Radio Yerevan.

    Question to Radio Yerevan: "Is it correct that Grigori Grigorievich Grigoriev won a luxury car at the All-Union Championship in Moscow?"

    Radio Yerevan answered: "In principle, yes. But first of all it was not Grigori Grigorievich Grigoriev, but Vassili Vassilievich Vassiliev; second, it was not at the All-Union Championship in Moscow, but at a Collective Farm Sports Festival in Smolensk; third, it was not a car, but a bicycle; and fourth he didn't win it, but rather it was stolen from him."

  3. Russia will win
    In fact Russia is in total control of EU economy.

    Zelensky though a very brave leader and patriotic NO DOUBT ABOUT HIS BRAVERY


  4. So Russia wants to increase wheat prices what about the The US selling LNG gas for massive profits and what about the attack on the pipelines in the Baltic Sea ?
    Why is everything Russia is actually cooperating with questioned but anything that is profiting mainly the US swept under the rug ? The European countries better realize
    they are just useful pawns for the US .

  5. Thanks a million again. I'm a big fan of your work. Life has a way of teaching one the lessons one doesn't get at home. Putin seems to get some now. Slava Ukraini.
    Ps he's an ugly toad.

  6. ktgs : Will you comment or summarize more about ant-ship missiles as appeared on your comments please? 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇮🇸🇮🇸🇬🇷🇬🇷🇫🇮🇫🇮🌹🌹❤️❤️🌺🌺🇺🇦🇺🇦

  7. give in to a tyrant and you will always give into a tyrant. the only way out is total victory for the Ukraine anything else is making everybody apart from Putin suckers.

  8. I enjoy your analysis. But your enunciation is distracting, like you’re overemphasizing the P and T in Putin in order to cover up a lisp. Just say “Pootin” like an ordinary American.

  9. In fact, all of Russia's plans to block the port were already known before the war. If you look, on February 13, the Russian Federation, illegally of course, blocked the Black and Azov Seas explaining it by naval exercises, which in fact blocked almost all food exports from Ukraine even before the start of the war. So there is no need to say here that Ukraine could not take out own boats due to the fact that it mined the port, and other nonsense, this is not true.

    By the way, such things did a Russian Federation more than once, she practiced it from the 14th year, this is called a creeping occupation.

  10. It is unlikely that mines somehow affect the possibility of passage to or from Odessa. The mines in our case are rather an anti-tank hedgehog, the last barrier.

    Russia simply blocked the port and blackmailed the world (affext mainly on Africa states )with hunger, this port is also just an important economic path for Ukraine. That is why Russia has reduced its grain exports from the country.

  11. Very Biased William. Clearly you are very smart, but for an analysis to be analysis and not just propaganda, you should go beyond the common western retoric and add more information into the discussion. Underestimating the enemy is never a smart way to defeat him. And thats what the west and you are doing with this crisis. after 8 months of sanctions, we are suffering in europe 10 folds more than in russia. In March everyone was bragging Putin's regim would fall, few months later, Macron lost the control of the congress, Italy and england lost their anti russian PMs, and everyone else will lose the next election due to inflation. whereas in russia, putin image is above 80%, Rubro is stronger than ever, and whatever oil europe is not buying, india and china are happy to buy.

  12. I'm starting to see all these channels popping up about the Ukrainian war for what they really are a cash grab man them kids Rush is sending over there probably ain't even a real army everybody talking like Russian weak rushing week Russia probably sitting there laughing at y'all like man we seeing kids that didn't even know they was going wait till we send the real army in the real equipment over there y'all crazy if y'all think Russia is out of missiles man y'all are out of y'all mind y'all don't understand the arsenal they got bro they can put a AK and almost everybody's f**** hand in the world these channels is just taking us for a ride just for views don't trust nothing they say

  13. Before watching: the obvious answer is that they were not strong enough to maintain it.
    3:12 That's great, but of course UA will aim all their anti-ship missiles at the mine-free lanes. Russia should know that.
    After watching: same answer. (Of course, "strong" doesn't just mean militarily.)

  14. Looking at AIS ship tracking, Russia wants to continue to export grains, fertilizer, oil, steel,etc. if Russia were to continue to blockade Ukrainian ports, it would give Ukraine a reason to make Sea of Azov a free fire zone. Neptune cruise missiles have already made parts of Black Sea untenable.
    PS – as time goes on, Ukraine and EU will develop alternative routes and build infrastructure that will allow Ukrainian ports to be bypassed. Doubt Russia wants to add shipping delays by using Baltic ports that need ice breakers

  15. I took the time to write an article about the passing of David Kay, a former IAEA inspector who later headed the CIA’s postwar investigation into Iraqi WMD. I then made a two minute topic video. And yet people still have the gall to denigrate the man, claiming he “lied” about Iraq’s WMD, and therefore is personally responsible for the deaths of millions of Iraqis.
    This needs to stop.
    Let me start with the following premise: if you weren’t an inspector with on the ground experience in Iraq, or an Iraqi personally involved in WMD programs, then simply put you don’t have a clue. Your best course of action would be to remain silent.
    Many people believe that I resigned from the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) because I believed Iraq had a clean bill of health.
    I resigned because of American interference in the inspection process necessary for making a final conclusion on Iraq’s disarmament status. I believed—rightly so—that there was work left to be done, and that the US was trying to avoid the conclusions a completed inspection process might reach and as such just wanted to skip the inspections and reach a conclusion based upon an incomplete investigation.
    I wanted to inspect; the US stopped me. I resigned.
    My goal was always to get inspectors back in Iraq. To finish the job.
    I’ve written extensively on this particular history. My book Endgame provides an Annex drawn from a 1997 study I authored about what remained unaccounted for in terms of WMD.
    My inspections were designed to account for that missing information/material.
    Throughout my time as an inspector, I had to overcome Iraqi lies, concealment and intimidation.
    These Iraqi tactics were not conducive to giving the Iraqis the benefit of the doubt.
    The Security Council resolutions mandating our work called for 100% compliance—not 80%, not 90%, not 95%. 100%. It was nonnegotiable.
    Iraq never achieved that 100% level. I assessed them at around 95-97%. My inspections were geared toward resolving the unaccounted for 3-5%.
    This is the point I made to the US Senate and House of Representatives in September 1998.
    What caused me to radically alter my position wasn’t new data about Iraqi WMD, but continued US interference that led to the December 1998 Desert Fox bombings, which included an assassination attempt on Saddam using intelligence my team had collected for legitimate disarmament purposes.
    The Iraqis knew this too, and they terminated their relationship with UNSCOM.
    With UNSCOM dead, I believed that the approach to disarming Iraq could shift from Quantitative accounting to Qualitative analysis—instead of hunting down every last scrap, assess whether what was unaccounted for constituted a meaningful WMD capability. I put this idea in writing, publishing an article in June 2000 in Arms Control Today.
    I was very much an outlier on this issue. Even my colleagues, like David Kelly, believed Iraq should be held to the original 100% standard set down by law.
    So did David Kay.
    David Kay’s testimony was predicated on the 100% disarmed standard. He was right to point out that Iraq had not met that standard.
    Later, when he headed up the CIA’s investigation, David Kay had to come to grips with the fact that the Qualitative standard was the right one. The report his team eventually prepared mirrored my June 2000 article.
    There was nothing dishonorable about David Kay. For those who continue to make that argument, you are only highlighting your own ignorance and prejudices. Cease and desist.

    Russia & Belarus, you reap what you sow !
    Long live free Ukraine with all its territory !
    НАТО передаст Украине ядерное оружие
    Россия и Беларусь, что посеешь, то и пожнешь!
    Да здравствует свободная Украина со всей ее территорией!
    Слава демократии
    Слава свободы слова. Слава гордости жить в мире.
    Слава человечеству.

    Russia & Belarus, you reap what you sow !
    Long live free Ukraine with all its territory !
    НАТО передаст Украине ядерное оружие
    Россия и Беларусь, что посеешь, то и пожнешь!
    Да здравствует свободная Украина со всей ее территорией!
    Слава демократии
    Слава свободы слова. Слава гордости жить в мире.
    Слава человечеству.

  18. 1. Initial invasion hoped to achieve Kiev and topple Ukraine government. With a quick " referendum" to rejoin with Russia…ending Ukrainian independence.
    2. Having failed at toppling the Kiev government… Plan B was instituted… specifically… The full occupation of eastern and southern Ukraine…again with quick "referendums" and annexation of territory.
    3. With stalemate…neither side having the infantry for decisive victory… It has become a war of attrition and trenches.
    For NATO…regardless of any claims otherwise…This war is perfect testing ground for NATO weapons like the US HIMARS and the German "Cheetah" and various rocket weapons.
    For Russia… It's a demonstration of how the corruption/theft of State/Military funding has eroded their capabilities.
    But… Russia doesn't have to win to win. It just has to hold.
    Legal or otherwise…control is defacto ownership.
    And Russia doesn't care about troop losses.
    Never has. Never will.

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