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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Russia Suspends Ukraine Black Sea Grain Deal, Biden Calls It ‘Outrageous’

President Volodymyr Zelensky slammed Russia’s nonsensical move and said it required a strong international reaction from the U.N. and the G20

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RUSSIA/UKRAINE: On Saturday, Russia halted its participation in the U.N.-brokered Black Sea grain deal after citing Ukraine’s alleged drone attacks on its fleet in Crimea as the major reason.

Russia’s exit from the agreement will pose a huge deterrent to the global supply of food grains as the entire world is reeling under the pressure of a food crisis amid the Ukraine crisis.

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U.S. President Joe Biden condemned the move, calling it “purely outrageous” and saying Russia’s move would add to more starvation worldwide.

According to Russia’s defense ministry, Ukrainian forces targeted the Black Sea fleet near Sevastopol, on the annexed Crimean peninsula, using 16 drones early on Saturday. It is also alleged that British navy “specialists” aided in the coordination of these “terrorist” attacks.

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Russia’s suspension will cut Ukrainian grain exports from its key Black Sea ports.

“There’s no merit to what they’re doing. The U.N. negotiated that deal, and that should be the end of it, “POTUS Joe Biden told reporters in his home state of Delaware.”

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The deal allows the flow of shipments of food grains from Ukraine, one of the world’s biggest exporters, that the Russian invasion had halted.

Russia revealed its decision in a letter addressed to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, where it said that it was halting the deal for an “indefinite term” since it could not “guarantee the safety of civilian ships” which were making trips under the pact’s regulations.

Russia has requested a meeting with the U.N. Security Council on Monday to discuss the attack, Russia’s Deputy U.N. Ambassador Dmitry Polyansky wrote on Twitter.

As per details furnished by the U.N. coordinator for the Istanbul-based Black Sea deal coordination center, composed of the U.N., Russian, Ukrainian, and Turkish officials, five outgoing and four inbound vessels had safely crossed the humanitarian corridor.

“There are more than 10 vessels, both outbound and inbound, waiting to enter the corridor,” Amir Abdulla said in a statement. He added that there was no deal agreed upon between the parties for the safe passage of vessels on Sunday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky slammed Russia’s nonsensical move and said it required a strong international reaction from the U.N. and the Group of 20 major economies.

“This is a completely transparent attempt by Russia to return to the threat of large-scale famine for Africa and Asia,” Zelensky said in a video address, adding that Russia should be ousted from the G20 Group.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said Moscow was using a fake pretext to abandon the deal.

“I call on all states to demand Russia to stop its hunger games and recommit to its obligations,” Kuleba said.

The European Union issued a statement highlighting that “all parties must refrain from any unilateral action that would imperil” a deal it described as crucial humanitarian aid.

The U.N.-backed grain deal signed by Russia and Ukraine on July 22 established the Black Sea Grain Initiative in Turkey, authorizing the export of more than 9 million tonnes of essential food grains like corn, wheat, sunflower products, barley, rapeseed, and soya.

However, before the deal’s expiry in May, Russia revealed issues with the deal. Ukraine complained that Moscow had blocked almost 200 vessels from picking up grain shipments.

Despite prices being reduced in the Western markets, Russia failed to gain anything from this deal, said Turan Oguz, a Turkish analyst. “I think the main reason for Russia’s withdrawal is Western indifference towards Russia,” he added.

Also Read: Russian Shelling Causes Blackouts in Ukraine, Many More Flee Kherson Violence

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