The announcement follows Putin’s warning that Russia would suspend participation in the deal because parts of it were not being fulfilled.
On Monday, Russia announced its termination of the U.N.-brokered Black Sea grain deal with Ukraine, first signed in July last year, citing unfulfilled parts of the agreement.
“The Black Sea agreements are no longer in effect,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said during a press conference in Moscow. “The deadline, as the Russian president said earlier, is July 17. Unfortunately, the part of the Black Sea agreement that concerns Russia has not yet been fulfilled. As a result, it has been terminated.”
Peskov added that “as soon as the Russian part [of the deal] is fulfilled, the Russian side will immediately return to the implementation of this deal,” TASS reported. [Russia’s position was announced before the most recent attack on the Crimean Bridge.]
Last Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Russia will suspend participation in the deal unless exports of its own products are unblocked. He claimed that none of the goals linked to the interests of the Russian Federation had been met.
[In April Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters at the U.N. that dozens of Russian cargo vessels with tons of Russian fertilizer were stuck at European ports.]
The U.N. and Turkey had brokered the deal in July last year to allow for export of Ukrainian grain through its Black Sea ports [with no interference by Russia], for four months. It was later extended for four more months in November, and twice for two months each in March and May.
Since the agreement, Ukraine was able to export 33 million metric tons of grains from its Black Sea ports via Turkey — where the ships carrying the grain were monitored.
Russia has been claiming that the U.N. and Turkey have failed to fulfill parts of the agreement [concerning restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance that have become a barrier to Russian shipments] due to the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and its European allies.
Specifically, Russia wanted its Russian Agricultural Bank to be reconnected to the SWIFT international payment system, which was disconnected by the European Union in June last year as a part of the sanctions regime against Russia over the war in Ukraine.
Russia has also objected to the fact that a large part of the grain has reached rich European countries instead of going to poorer countries in Asia and Africa, the reason cited for the agreement.
According to U.N. data, grain from Ukraine has been supplied to 45 countries in three continents under the deal, with Africa getting just 12 percent, Asia 46 percent and 40 percent going to rich countries in Western Europe.
This article is from Peoples Dispatch.
The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.