Moscow’s withdrawal from the grain export pact ‘an atrocity’

The US ambassador to the United Nations condemned, on Monday, Russia’s withdrawal from the Ukrainian grain export agreementdescribing it as “an atrocity”.

“While Russia plays political games, real people will suffer,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters, accusing Moscow of “holding humanity hostage.”

Practically finished

This came, after Moscow announced on Monday that the Ukrainian grain export agreement had come to an end, hours after a night attack by Kiev on the Crimean bridge linking Russia to the peninsula it annexed in 2014.

The Kremlin said on Monday that the agreement on the export of Ukrainian grain, which expires at midnight (21:00 GMT), is “practically finished”, but that Russia is ready to return to it “immediately” when its conditions are met.

grain carriers (Reuters)

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, signed by Russia and Ukraine in July 2022 under the auspices of Turkey and the United Nations, aims to reduce the risk of famine in the world by ensuring the export of Ukrainian agricultural products despite the war.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations had been informed of the Kremlin’s decision.

“Russia has officially informed the Turkish and Ukrainian parties, as well as the United Nations Secretariat, of its opposition to extending the agreement,” she told the state-run Tass news agency.

Russian threat

Moscow has been threatening for weeks not to extend the agreement, complaining of obstacles to the export of its agricultural products and fertilizers, stressing that the declared goal of the agreement, namely the delivery of grain supplies to poor countries, has not been achieved.

Despite the Kremlin’s announcement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday expressed confidence in his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin’s desire for the agreement to continue.

The Kremlin: The grain deal is over for us

This agreement allowed the export of more than 32 billion tons of grain. Late Sunday, data from the “Marine Traffic” website showed that the last cargo ship approved by the parties to the agreement was on its way across the Black Sea from the Ukrainian port city of Odessa to Istanbul.

According to data from the Agreement Coordination Center, Turkey and China are the main beneficiaries of grain shipments, in addition to some developing countries.

The agreement allowed the World Food Program to assist countries facing severe food shortages, such as Afghanistan, Sudan and Yemen.

While the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, made efforts to save the agreement and renew its deadline. He expressed support for removing obstacles to Russia’s export of fertilizers and sent a letter to Putin last week in this regard.

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