Three more ships carrying grain left Ukraine’s Black Sea ports on Tuesday, a day after President Vladimir Putin signaled that Russia would no longer guarantee the safety of cargo ships, a message that highlighted the risks it faces. Watershed Agreement It aims to help alleviate the global food crisis.
Russian authorities were notified of the ships’ departure on Tuesday, according to Asmini Bala, a UN spokeswoman for the entity overseeing the agreement, known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative. On Monday, 12 cargo ships laden with grain sailed without incident from the ports of Ukraine. Ms Bala said the departures of those ships, and those that left Ukraine on Tuesday, had been authorized before the deal was suspended.
Russia announced, on Saturday, the suspension of its participation The deal came after a weekend attack on its navy in the Black Sea, which it blamed on Ukraine. But Moscow’s decision did not stop the movement of ships completely, at least for the time being.
Ukraine is one of the world’s leading exporters of wheat and other grains, and the July agreement, reached with the help of Turkey and the United Nations, has given hope for Ukraine’s shattered economy as well as the prospect of some relief for dozens of countries in Africa and beyond facing food shortages.
Speaking at a news conference late Monday night after a meeting with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Sochi, Russia, Mr. Putin reiterated that Russia had suspended its participation in the agreement, and insisted that the onus was on Ukraine to ensure a safe corridor for the safe export of grain out of Ukraine had been established.
Putin did not rule out that Russia would respect the grain deal again. “We are not saying that we are stopping our participation in this process,” Mr. Putin said. “We’re saying we’re pausing it.”
Putin also gave a rude and ominous response when a reporter on state television asked him if he Monday’s missile strikes on Ukraine In response to the attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet at the weekend. Partly that is the case, Putin said. “But that’s not all we can do.”
Moscow’s decision means to stop its participation in ship inspections in the port of Istanbul – and to ensure security for any cargo ships crossing the Black Sea, where its navy dominates.
The Russian Defense Ministry stressed this point in a statement issued Monday evening, saying that the movement of ships through the safety corridor established for the grain initiative is “unacceptable.” She accused the Ukrainian military, without providing evidence, of using the corridor to “conduct operations” against Russia, and said that “there can be no question of ensuring safety” until Ukraine makes additional commitments not to use it for “military purposes”.
Emphasizing the potential risks to Ukraine’s grain exports, the Ukrainian military said on Monday that the Russian bombing of the port of Ochakiv, which is located on the Black Sea, hit two civilian boats that were involved in transporting a grain barge. It added that two people were killed and one crew member was injured. The accident and the ships in question didn’t seem to be directly related to the grain deal.
The statement of the Russian Defense Ministry – along with notes from Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia, reported by Interfax that Moscow “cannot allow ships to pass unhindered without our inspection” – indicates that the movement of ships carrying grain may not continue.
UN officials have held talks with Russia, Ukraine and Turkey, leading some analysts to believe The deal can be restored. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan He said on Monday His government will continue its efforts to overcome Moscow’s opposition. Analysts say the Kremlin views the agreement, which is due to expire in mid-November unless it is renewed, as leverage to achieve its larger war goals.
Alexandra Prokopenko, One of Russia’s goals could be to secure more exemptions for its food and fertilizer exports from so-called hidden sanctions, such as the higher cost of insurance, said an independent analyst and Russia expert writing for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. utensils.
Ivan Nikiburnko And the Shafak Timur Contribute to the preparation of reports.
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