Ukrainian farmers harvest grain in the Odessa region, south Ukraine, 23 June 2023. EFE/EPA/FILE/IGOR TKACHENKO

Russia suspends Ukraine’s Black Sea grain export deal

Moscow, Jul 17 (EFE).- Russia on Monday suspended Ukraine’s Black Sea grain export deal, claiming the commitments made with Moscow in the agreement have not been fulfilled.

“In fact, the Black Sea agreements ceased to be valid today. As the President of the Russian Federation said earlier, the deadline is July 17,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a press conference.

“Unfortunately, the part relating to Russia in this Black Sea agreement has not been implemented so far. Therefore, its effect is terminated,” Peskov noted.

He said that Russia would return to implementing the grain initiative as soon as the Russian part of the agreement is fulfilled.

Among other key demands, the Kremlin seeks the Russian agricultural bank Rosselkhozbank to be reconnected to the SWIFT payments system, removal of restrictions on logistic and transport insurances, agriculture machinery spare parts and Russian exports of ammonia and fertilizers.

The suspension of the grain initiative came just hours after Russia claimed Ukrainian forces had attacked a bridge linking the annexed Crimea region to Russia.

However, Peskov said the decision to suspend the agreement was not linked to Monday’s attack against the Crimea Bridge. “No, these are absolutely unrelated events,” he said.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow has already notified Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations of Moscow’s “objection” to the extension of the grain deal.

“Russia today officially notified the Turkish and Ukrainian sides, as well as the UN Secretariat, of its objection to the extension of the deal,” Zakharova told Russia’s Interfax news agency.

Russia and Ukraine, with the mediation of Turkey and the UN, agreed in July last year to allow the export of grains from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports, blocked by Russia, after war between the two nations broke out in February 2022.

According to the UN, the accord has allowed Ukraine to export more than 30.2 million tons of grain so far.

Ukraine is one of the world’s largest producers of grains, particularly wheat, corn and barley. EFE

mos /bks/sc