Inspections of Ukrainian grain ships halved since October

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Inspections of ships carrying Ukrainian grain and other food exports have slowed to half their peak rate under a U.N.-brokered wartime agreement,

creating backlogs in vessels meant to carry supplies to developing nations where people are going hungry, United Nations and Ukrainian officials say. Some U.S. and Ukrainian

officials accuse Russia of deliberately slowing down inspections, which a Russian official denied. As the grain initiative got rolling in August, only 4.1 inspections of

ships — both heading to and leaving Ukraine — took place each day on average, according to data the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul provided to The Associated Press.

Inspection teams from Russia, Ukraine, the U.N. and Turkey ensure ships carry only food and other agricultural products and no weapons. In September, inspections jumped to

10.4 per day, then a peak rate of 10.6 in October. Since then, it’s been downhill: 7.3 in November, 6.5 in December and 5.3 so far in January. “The hope had been that going

into 2023, you would see every month the daily rate of inspection going up, not that you would see it halved,” USAID Administrator Samantha Power said in an interview Thursday at

the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The slowdown in inspections “has a material effect … in terms of the number of ships that can get out," said the

head of the U.S. Agency for International Development. “That, in turn, inevitably has a knock-on effect on global supply.”