Russia suspends participation in crucial Ukrainian grain export deal, raising global food supply concerns and undermining diplomatic breakthrough.
The deal, reached in July 2022 by Turkey between the United Nations, was slated to end at 5 p.m. Monday at noon ET (midnight time zone in Istanbul, Kiev, and Moscow).
Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, told press on Monday that Russia wasn’t going to extend the agreement at this time, stating that it “has been terminated.”
Russia has long complained that it is unable to fully export its own goods, and Peskov highlighted this as the basis for withdrawing from the agreement.
Withdrawal From the Deal
The agreement ensures the safety of ships transporting Ukrainian fertilizer, grain, and other goods.
Since its launch, the Black Sea Grain Initiative has enabled Ukraine to export approximately 33 million metric tons of food.
The World Food Programme has supplied over 725,000 tons to support humanitarian operations, assisting in the relief of hunger in some of the world’s most impoverished countries, such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
The Russian Foreign Ministry stated Monday that by withdrawing from the deal, the Russian government had eliminated guarantees for safe shipping in the Black Sea.
There are other train routes across Eastern Europe for Ukrainian grain and oilseed exports, but they cannot handle the volume that Ukraine wishes to export.
Russia’s objections to the agreement centered on assertions that restrictions to food and fertilizer exports had not been removed.
Global Food Insecurity
Deal allowed Ukraine to export grain by sea, bypassing the Russian blockade. Ships inspected to prevent weapon smuggling.
Crucial for stabilizing global food prices and aiding developing countries. War’s impact on food markets was immediate and severe.Ukraine is a major grain supplier to the World Food Programme (WFP).
Ukraine accounts for 10% of the global wheat market, 15% of the global wheat market, and 13% of the global barley market, according to the European Commission. It is also a major worldwide player in the sunflower oil business.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned at the time that the war may generate “acute food insecurity” for up to 47 million people.