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Russia suspends grain exports deal

Russia’s defence ministry said on Saturday that Russia has suspended its participation in the UN-brokered deal to export agricultural produce from Ukrainian ports after alleged attacks on ships in Crimea. The move deals a giant blow to global grain supplies.

Russia said that Ukrainian forces, with the help of drones, attacked ships from the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, the biggest city in Russian-annexed Crimea, in the early hours of Saturday. Ukrainian officials denied any involvement in the supposed “attacks”.

“Taking into account… the terrorist act by the Kyiv regime with the participation of British experts against the ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civilian vessels involved in ensuring the security of the ‘grain corridor’, the Russian side suspends participation in the implementation of agreements on the export of agricultural products from Ukrainian ports,” the ministry said in a statement.

⚡️⚡️Russia says it 'suspends participation' in U.N.-brokered grain deal with Ukraine.

It will supposedly stop allowing Ukrainian grain exports via Black Sea ports over Oct. 29 drone attack on the Russian-occupied port city of Sevastopol. Russia blames Ukraine for the attack.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) October 29, 2022

Ukraine’s response

The Ukrainian president’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, responded to the Russian accusations stating that Moscow is trying to “blackmail” and “invented terror attacks” on its own territory.

Furthermore, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba took to social media calling on “all states to demand Russia to stop its hunger games and recommit to its obligations.”

We have warned of Russia’s plans to ruin the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Now Moscow uses a false pretext to block the grain corridor which ensures food security for millions of people. I call on all states to demand Russia to stop its hunger games and recommit to its obligations.

— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) October 29, 2022

Promises, promises

Separately, Russian Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev stated earlier on Saturday that Russia was ready to supply up to 500,000 tonnes of grain to poor countries in the next four months for free, with assistance from Turkey, and supplant supplies of Ukrainian grains.

“Taking into account this year’s harvest, the Russian Federation is fully prepared to replace Ukrainian grain and deliver supplies at affordable prices to all interested countries,” he said.

The deal

Since Russia and Ukraine signed the UN-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative in Turkey on July 22, several million tonnes of corn, wheat, sunflower products, barley, rapeseed and soya have been exported from Ukraine.

Under the agreement, Ukraine was able to restart its Black Sea grain and fertilizer exports, which had stalled since the invasion. The Ukraine export deal was initially agreed to last 120 days.

Three #ships loaded with #grain left #Ukrainian ports on Friday under a recently concluded safe passage deal, the #Turkish Defenсe Ministry reported.

— TVP World (@TVPWorld_com) August 5, 2022

Late on Friday, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had appealed to the parties to renew the pact.

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