War in Ukraine: Russia cuts grain export deal

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War in UkraineRussia terminates grain export deal

Moscow is justifying its decision by citing drone attacks on Russian ships in the Black Sea on Saturday and accusing the Ukrainians of being behind it with help from the United Kingdom.

According to President Zelensky, at least 176 ships carrying more than two million tons of grain have already been blocked by Moscow. (illustrative picture)

AFP

Russia on Saturday suspended a deal on grain exports from Ukrainian ports, crucial to the world’s food supply, which Ukraine and the United States accused of holding hostage. Moscow claims the decision was taken after drone strikes on the ships.

Ukraine denounced “a false pretext” and called on Russia to be pressured for “refusing to honor its obligations,” a deal that was concluded in July under the UN and Turkey, the only one between Moscow and Kiev since its inception. Conflict. In his daily video posted on the Internet, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, “This decision was not really made today.”

“Russia started increasing global food shortages in September, and it started blocking the movement of ships carrying our agricultural products,” he said. “This is an obvious Russian intention to once again raise the threat of large-scale famine in Africa and Asia,” he added.

According to him, at least 176 ships carrying more than two million tons of grain have already been blocked by Moscow. “A serious international response is needed. Russia should no longer be allowed at the UN level, especially at the G20 level,” he added. However, a Turkish security source told AFP on Saturday evening that “Turkey has not been officially notified” by Moscow of withdrawing from the deal.

“defamation”

US President Joe Biden called Russia’s decision “disgraceful”. “It’s outrageous. There’s no reason for them to do this,” he told reporters after voting early in the midterm elections in his stronghold of Wilmington, Delaware (East).

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “By suspending this agreement, Russia is once again using food as a weapon against already severe humanitarian crises and food insecurity,” Blinken said.

The grain deal has allowed the export of millions of tonnes of grain stuck in Ukrainian ports since the conflict began in February. The ban raised food prices and raised fears of famine. The UN, the treaty’s guarantor, called for it to be preserved, insisting it had a “positive impact” on access to food for millions of people around the world.

“act of terrorism”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stepped up criticism of the deal in recent weeks, pointing out that exports from Russia, another major grain producer, are being hit by sanctions. Moscow justified the suspension with a drone attack targeting the Russian Black Sea Fleet on Saturday morning in Sevastopol Bay in annexed Crimea.

“In view of the terrorist act committed by the Kyiv regime with the participation of British experts against civilian vessels engaged in the protection of the Black Sea Fleet and grain corridors, Russia ceases to participate in the implementation of the agreement. Export of agricultural products from Ukrainian ports,” the Russian Defense Ministry announced in a telegram. , reacted by denouncing “disinformation” intended to “distract concern”.

“Made Up Story”

According to Russian officials, the early Saturday morning attack by “nine unmanned aerial vehicles and seven autonomous maritime drones” caused “minor damage” to a minesweeper and a control boom in Sevastopol Bay.

“Preparation for this terrorist act and training of military personnel of the 73rd Ukrainian Special Maritime Operations Center was carried out by British specialists in Ochakov, Mykolaiv region of Ukraine,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a telegram.

Moscow accused London of involvement in the explosions that damaged the Russian Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea in September and vowed to refer the question to the UN Security Council.

“Russia has repeatedly called for a joint investigation into the attacks (…). The West’s rejection of this proposal confirms it: they have something to hide,” Russian Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement. The British Ministry of Defense has condemned Russia’s “fabricated narrative”.

(AFP)

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