Russia suspended a grain export deal last week after Ukraine attacked a security fleet in the Black Sea. Before this, the country had suspended the Black Sea port for a long time due to the war. It was restarted with the mediation of the United Nations and Turkey, but Russia suspended it after accusing Ukraine of attacking it. Moscow has agreed to go to the grain agreement again through the mediation of Turkey. Reuters news.
Russia said on Wednesday it had agreed to go ahead with the grain export deal because of the risk of global famine.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had received a written guarantee from Kiev not to use the Black Sea grain corridor for military operations against Russia.
The ministry’s statement said, ‘The Russian Federation has taken into consideration, the guarantees received at the moment appear to be sufficient. So the implementation of the agreement has been resumed.’
Earlier on Saturday, Russia suspended its participation in the agreement. Allegedly, Ukraine could not guarantee the safety of civilian ships crossing the Black Sea, instead they attacked its security fleet. A part of this originates from within the grain export corridor. But Ukraine said it was a false pretext.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said earlier that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had told his Turkish counterpart that work would continue until midday on Wednesday under the July 22 grain deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations.
Erdogan said, “Today (Wednesday) before 12 noon grain transportation will continue as agreed.”
Global wheat, soybean, corn and rapeseed prices fell sharply after the announcement, easing concerns about a growing inability to afford food.
Ships continue to carry Ukrainian grain despite the moratorium. But that was unlikely to continue for long as insurers were not issuing new contracts because of Russia’s move, industry sources told Reuters.
“It’s quite an unexpected change,” Andrey Syzov, head of the Russia-focused Sovecon agriculture consultancy, said of Russia’s decision. Still, the deal remains shaky, as it is now back in speculation mode as to whether or not an extension will happen. There are only two weeks left before the extension. Discussions around this matter will apparently continue.’
The deal expires on November 19 and a European diplomat briefed on the crop talks told Reuters that Russian President Vladimir Putin would likely use the potential extension as a way to gain leverage and dominate next month’s G20 summit in Indonesia.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Bierbock said: ‘It is an expression and shows how important it is for those who believe in international order. They are united in these difficult times and are not allowing themselves to be blackmailed by Russia.’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier said the world should respond strongly to any Russian attempt to disrupt Ukraine’s export corridor across the Black Sea. The port had been blockaded since Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24.
The Russian blockade has exacerbated food shortages and livelihood crises in many countries as Ukraine is one of the world’s major suppliers of grain and oilseeds.
In a video message Tuesday night, Zelensky said ships for Turkey and UN work were still leaving Ukrainian ports with cargo. But the grain corridor needs a reliable and long-term defense.
Zelensky also said, ‘Russia must be clearly aware that any move to disrupt our food exports will receive a severe response from the world. This issue clearly involves the lives of millions of people.’
The goal of the Grains Agreement is to prevent famine in poor countries and control food surpluses by supplying large quantities of wheat, sunflower oil and fertilizers to the world market.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlu Cavusoglu earlier said Russia was concerned about its fertilizer and grain exports. In line with Russian officials, he said ships carrying their grain could not dock even without Western sanctions on exports.
Tatiana Stanovaya, a Russian political analyst, said Moscow’s decision to resume the deal had nothing to do with Ukraine’s guarantee. The Kremlin itself had fallen into a trap from which it did not know how to get out.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the United Nations, told CNN she was glad to hear Russia’s return to the deal. They cannot stand in the way of feeding the whole world.