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Under the Black Sea grain export agreement, a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) in Istanbul – made up of officials from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the UN – authorises ships and conducts inbound and outbound inspections of the vessels.

“According to information shared by the Ukrainian delegation with the parties at the JCC, there are 54 vessels waiting to move to Ukrainian ports. Out of these, 11 applications have been shared with the JCC for registration,” the UN said.

No new ships were registered on Thursday by the JCC, but two were agreed on Friday, the UN said, adding that there are currently 13 vessels loading in Ukrainian ports – six in Chornomorsk and seven in Odesa.

It also said that the average number of daily inbound and outbound inspections had dropped to 3.2 during May – the lowest level since operations began last August.

Russia signalled on Thursday that if demands to improve its grain and fertiliser exports are not met then it will not extend the deal beyond Jul 17. It made the same threat and demands in March, before agreeing last week to renew it for 60 days.

Russia appears to have prioritised two specific demands: Restarting the pipeline to transport Russian ammonia to Ukraine’s Pivdennyi port for export to global markets; and reconnecting Russia’s agricultural bank, known as Rosselkhozbank, to the SWIFT international payment network.

To help convince Russia to allow Ukraine to resume Black Sea grain exports, a three-year pact was also struck last July in which the UN agreed to help Moscow carry out its food and fertiliser shipments.