Russia withdraws from UN agreement allowing Ukrainian grain exports

Moscow has suspended its participation in a United Nations-backed agreement with Kyiv.

Russia linked its decision to withdraw from the deal with an attack on Saturday on ships in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

It blamed the attack on the Ukrainian armed forces, claiming that air defenses shot down the Ukrainian drone but that the self-propelled explosives caused damage to naval ships and facilities. energy department.

“Regarding the actions of the Ukrainian armed forces. . . The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the Russian side cannot guarantee the safety of civilian dry cargo ships participating in the Black Sea Initiative and suspends implementation from today for an indefinite period.

They also claimed there was no evidence that British experts were involved in the attack and said they had instructed their representatives at the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul, which administers the deal, temporarily. stop activities.

Russia has hinted at wanting to pull out of the deal for a while. Vladimir Putin has repeatedly expressed displeasure with the agreement in recent weeks, claiming that it does not send grain to “the poorest countries”.

United Nations data shows that rich countries receive more than half of Spain-led shipping volumes. Middle-income countries including Turkey and China account for about a quarter of the total, while middle- and lower-income countries such as Egypt and Ethiopia receive just over a fifth.

The United Nations did not bill the deal as intended to send grain directly to poorer countries, instead saying it must make grain purchases more accessible to poorer countries. The deal was supposed to bring down a market price that skyrocketed when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Ukraine believes that Russia is using a false pretext to withdraw from the agreement.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter: “We have warned about Russia’s plan to destroy the Black Sea Grains Initiative.

“Now, Moscow is using a false pretext to block the grain corridor, which ensures food security for millions of people. I urge all nations to demand that Russia stop its hunger game and abide by its obligations.”

In a statement, the ministry said that Russia’s actions raise questions about the “feasibility of the [the corridor’s] keep working”. Saturday’s announcement “embodies Moscow’s roadmap in destabilizing global food security on the grounds of recent events in Sevastopol,” it said.

Kyiv has called on the UN and Turkey as the guarantors of the grain deal to “send Russia a clear signal of unacceptable holdings”. [on] hundreds of millions of people around the world, including Africa, Asia and Latin America”.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, tweeted that Russia was guilty of “nuclear blackmail, energy terrorism, grain blockade”.

“Putin has turned food, cold and prices into weapons against the world. Putin’s Russia is waging a mixed war against Europe, holding Africa and the Middle East hostage,” he said.

In the first day of this month Financial Times reported The UN-backed deal, which allows Ukraine to export millions of tons of wheat, is under strain as a surge in the number of cargo ships trying to pass through the Black Sea has caused a backlog.

The UN said it was in contact with Russian authorities on the matter.

Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said: “It is important that all parties refrain from any actions that could affect the Black Sea Grains Initiative. to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

John WH Denton, head of the International Chamber of Commerce, which was involved in the development of the agreement, said: “Russia, when it entered into the agreement, acknowledged its responsibility to ensure that the conflict are taking place that do not jeopardize global food security.

“There will certainly be statements and rebuttals about today’s incident in the Black Sea. But both governments must recognize that there is a larger humanitarian – and global – imperative to restore the agricultural transit corridor immediately,” said Denton.

“Letting this deal fail is not an option for the millions of people who believe in it because of their everyday existence around the developing world,” he said.


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