Russian participation in a deal that guarantees safe passage to ships carrying Ukrainian grain exports is being suspended, but not terminated, according to President Vladimir Putin.
Moscow withdrew from the UN-mediated deal on Saturday, claiming that Ukraine had attacked its navy using a safety corridor in the Black Sea.
According to the UN, there were no ships within the hallway that evening.The incident has not been attributed to Ukraine.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, declared that the agreement will be upheld and accused Russia of “blackmailing the world with hunger”—a charge Moscow disputes.
It was recorded that, 12 ships carrying 354,500 tonnes of supplies, mainly grain, departed Ukraine’s Black Sea ports on Monday despite the negative effects. Infrastructure Ministry of Ukraine
After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, its navy imposed a blockade on Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, trapping about 20 million tonnes of grain meant for export inside the country, along with other foodstuffs such as maize and sunflower oil.
This constituted a record volume of exports since the grain deal began, said a spokesperson for Odesa’s military administration quoted by Reuters.
One of the vessels carrying 40,000 tons of grain was destined for Ethiopia, where “the real possibility of mass starvation” existed, the infrastructure ministry added.
But in July, a deal between Ukraine and Russia was brokered by Turkey and the UN, agreeing to resume grain exports through the Black Sea ports.
On Monday, however, President Putin said the deal was being suspended, citing the “massive” drone attack on its fleet in Crimea that he alleged Kyiv was responsible for.
He said maritime safety must be ensured and that implementing grain exports under such conditions were too risky.
“Ukraine must guarantee that there will be no threats to civilian vessels,” Mr Putin said in a televised address.
Kyiv has not admitted responsibility for the attack, saying Moscow had long planned to abandon the internationally-brokered deal and used the attack as a pretext to do so.
“In conditions when Russia is talking about the impossibility of guaranteeing the safety of shipping in these areas, such a deal is hardly feasible, and it takes on a different character – much more risky, dangerous and unguaranteed,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
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