Russia announced Saturday its withdrawal from the agreement, which is supposed to guarantee the export of grain from war-torn Ukraine. The United Nations expressed deep concern about the decision, and the United Nations and Turkey began intense diplomacy over the weekend to get Russia to return.
The grain agreement is necessary to curb the global food crisis exacerbated by the invasion of Ukraine.
– Such an agreement is unlikely to be possible in the current conditions, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov says on Monday about the agreement that was supposed to guarantee safe passage from Ukrainian ports during the war.
He says it will be impossible for Russia to ensure the safety of shipping in offshore areas.
– The agreement will take on a completely different character, and even more serious and dangerous, says Peskov.
But since Russia announced its withdrawal from the agreement, several cargo ships have left Ukrainian ports. At least ten ships left Ukrainian ports on Monday, according to a website that monitors shipping.
Civilian cargo ships can never become a military target or be held hostage. There must be a free flow of food, says Amir Muhammad Abdullah, the UN coordinator for the grain agreement.
The Russian authorities announced the decision hours after announcing a terrorist attack on the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, in the annexed Crimea, on Saturday.
Russia claims that boats using the sea lane created to export grain were carrying drones from the Odessa region for use in the attack. Evidence for this has not yet been provided, and Ukraine claims that Russia itself is behind the devastation in Sevastopol.
The Russian Ministry of Defense also claimed that specialists from Britain led the planning of the drone attack, which the British authorities categorically denied.
More ships sailing
Among the ships that set sail from Ukrainian ports on Monday were ships laden with grain, soybeans and peas, according to the United Nations. One of the ships is sailing on behalf of the World Food Program, according to Ukrainian authorities. This ship, which must carry 40 thousand tons of grain, is on its way to Ethiopia.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Turkey will continue to support grain exports from Ukraine.
On Monday, 16 ships were scheduled to sail through the corridor created to transport grain from Ukraine, the coordination center for the grain agreement – JCC.
Ukraine is one of the world’s largest grain exporters.
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