Ukraine ships grain despite Russia Abandoning Brokered U.N. deal

Credits: Metin Aktaş/Anadolu/Aljazeera

Ukraine has begun shipping grain from its ports despite Russia suspending its partnership in a U.N.-brokered deal that has made it possible for millions of tons of foodstuff to depart the besieged European nation for the wider world amid the war.

Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s minister of Infrastructure, said 12 cargo ships loaded with food left the country for Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait for inspection on Monday, according to report.

The ships, loaded with tons of grains had been stranded at the Ukrainian ports as the result of the war. The Black Sea Initiative was agreed to in late July by Russia and Ukraine and was brokered by the U.N. and Turkey, to allow for commercial food exports to leave the three key Ukrainian ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk and Yuzny.

The landmark deal was made amid rising fears of starvation in food-insecure nations and increasing prices of goods on shelves in wealthier countries as Russia’s war in Ukraine halted the export of foodstuffs from the European nation, which, with Russia, is considered the breadbasket of the world as its accounts for about 30% of worldwide wheat and barley export.

When the deal was signed, officials complained that food in Ukrainian ports was just sitting there while countries were calling for shipments.

Officials say that including the 2 million tons that departed Tuesday, some 9.5 million tons have left Ukraine under the deal.

However, Russia’s suspension of its partnership has caused concern over the future of the initiative that has seen prices fall and countries in need receive food, with the United States, Europe and the United Nations calling on Moscow to resume full participation.

According to  UPI News, The dozen ships departed Ukraine on Monday as the U.N. Security Council held a meeting called by Russia to discuss its claims that at 4 a.m. Saturday, Ukrainian armed forces used the cloak of night to attack the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s ships in Sevastopol.

Meanwhile, at a Security Council meeting, Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia said Russia’s suspension was due the attack on its vessels by Ukraine.

Nebenzia accused Russia of using the cover of the humanitarian corridor created by the Black Sea Initiative to target its vessels with nine unmanned aerial vehicles and seven autonomous undersea drones, all of which he said were destroyed.

He said the attack involved Canada-manufactured devices and was conducted under British guidance. The attack, he said, violated the pacts of July 22 that created the Black Sea Initiative and “basically ‘shuts the door’ on the humanitarian dimension of the agreements.”

“Due to these acts by Kyiv, the Russian side cannot guarantee safety of civilian vessels taking part in the grain initiative,” he warned. “We do not know what other terrorist attacks Kyiv is plotting with the help of its Western sponsors. That is why we had to suspend the implementation of the grain initiative.”

The Institute for the Study of War supported Russia’s claims that Ukrainian forces “likely” attacked a Grigorovich-class frigate of the Black Sea Fleet near Sevastopol with unmanned surface vehicles. It was unable to verify if any vessels sustained damage.

Martin Griffiths, the under-secretary general for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, has called on Russia to return to participation in the initiative, asking it to bring its claims to the Joint Coordination Center, which was created to discuss disputes in the deal.

Credit: Darryl Coote, UPI

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