Explained: What Made Russia Suspend The Crucial Grain Export Deal, Which Was Meant To Ameliorate Global Food Insecurity?
Ukraine's maritime grain exports were halted on Sunday, October 30, after Russia's defence ministry announced that its participation in the deal is being suspended.
The crucial agreement allowed the vital shipments of food supplies. Russia made the decision after its ships in Sevastopol, Crimea were attacked by Ukrainian drones on 29th October.
Russia stated that the attack on ships in Crimea was the reason that Moscow was backing out from the deal.
Russia has claimed that the Ukrainian drones attacked Russian ships in the Black Sea that were safeguarding shipping lanes under the grain agreement.
"In view of the terrorist attack, carried out by the Kiev regime on October 29 - with the participation of British specialists - against ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civilian vessels involved in ensuring the security of the grain corridor, the Russian side suspends participation in the implementation of agreements on the export of agricultural products from Ukrainian ports," read the statement by Russia's defence ministry.
US President Joe Biden called the move "purely outrageous" and said that it would “increase starvation" around the world.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Moscow was "weaponising food".
Moscow has exited the grain deal for what it call an "undetermined period."
Russia's Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushe said that Russia entered into the deal to prevent food insecurity (read famine) in vulnerable African and Asian countries, however, most of the food was anyway ending up in wealthy European countries and the situation in vulnerable countries had not improved one bit.
50-60 per cent of the food is being 'apprehended' by the EU, said the Russian Agriculture minister.
The July deal to unlock grain exports signed between Russia and Ukraine and brokered by Turkey and the UN, is critical to easing the global food crisis caused by the conflict. The agreement had already allowed more than nine million tonnes of Ukrainian grain to be exported and was due to be renewed on November 19.
UN was working to renew the deal after its November 19 expiration date, but now as the deal has been suspended even before touching the expiration date, it is unlikely it will be renewed any time soon.
On Saturday, after Russia said it was halting its participation due to Ukraine drone attack on its Black Sea fleet, Ukraine labelled the reason given by Russia a "false pretext".
In recent weeks, before the suspension of the deal, Russia was complaining that whilst it was living up its side of the deal, Ukraine was not living up to its side.
Russia complained that the agreement had opened up Ukrainian grain shipments but failed to live up to promises to allow the export of Russian fertilizer and food products.
UN has urged "both parties to refrain from imperilling a deal that provided food to millions around the globe."
As per the UN, more than 9 million tons of grain and other food products have been exported under the deal, contributing to lower prices of wheat and other commodities.
Suspension of the deal will impact food inflation in many countries around the world, unless a solution is discovered soon.
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