Following Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the “grain deal”, the three remaining parties intend to continue exporting Ukrainian food by sea.
The United Nations (UN), Turkey and Ukraine have agreed on the October 31 movement of 14 vessels in Turkish waters. On Sunday, Oct. 30, 24 hours after Russia pulled out of a grain deal allowing food out of Ukrainian ports, the three sides reached a new agreement without Russian involvement.
Delegations from the two countries and the UN also agreed to inspect 40 departing ships on Oct. 31, according to a statement from the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul. It added that the Russian delegation had been notified of the plans by the UN, Turkey and Ukraine. The UN hopes to salvage the deal with Russia. A spokesman for the organization's secretary general, António Guterres, said he was in intensive talks to restore the agreement.
Meanwhile, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht praised UN efforts to save the grain deal and sharply criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to withdraw from the agreement. “I definitely welcome the fact that the UN is trying to find a quick solution and resume supplies. The poorest of the poor should not be held hostage to Putin's great-power fantasies,” she told dpa. Lambrecht called Moscow’s use of hunger as a weapon completely unacceptable.
Berlin called Russia’s unilateral decision irresponsible
Meanwhile, German Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir called on Russia to continue complying with the terms of the grain agreement. “Given the millions of hungry people around the world, Russia’s unilateral suspension of the grain deal is irresponsible,” he told media group Funke.
Earlier, Russia indefinitely suspended participation in agreements on the export of agricultural products from Ukrainian ports, explaining the decision by drone attacks on Russian Black Sea Fleet ships in Sevastopol Bay on October 29 and accusing Britain of being involved in them. The press service of the Russian Foreign Ministry said that the “green corridor” created as part of the “grain deal” allegedly became a cover for the attacks on the ships. Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia, sent a letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres informing him about Russia’s withdrawal from the “grain deal”. Europe and the United States sharply criticized Moscow’s decision.
Grain deal to take agricultural products out of Ukraine
An agreement between Russia and Ukraine aimed at ending the blockade of Ukrainian ports for grain exports was signed July 22 in Istanbul, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. The agreement allowed for the export of 20-25 million tons of grain that had been blocked in Ukraine as a result of the war. It provides for the creation of safe corridors in the Black Sea from the Ukrainian coast to the Bosphorus. The movement of ships is monitored at a coordination center in Istanbul, where representatives from Russia, Ukraine and Turkey work under the direction of the United Nations.
According to the agreement, Ukrainian food exports have been taking place since August 1 from three Ukrainian ports – Odessa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhne. According to the UN, by October 28, the volume of grain exports under this agreement was about 9 million tons.