Russia said on Monday it had suspended participation in a deal that allowed Ukraine to sell its crops by sea despite a wartime blockade – an agreement seen as essential to stabilizing global food prices – and would resume participation only if it was met.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri S. Peskov told reporters on Monday that the deal was “suspended.”
This agreement, known as Black Sea Grain Initiative and was run by the United Nations and Turkey a year ago, it was due to expire on Monday. There was no immediate response from either group Monday to Russia’s announcement.
Last week, the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres sent a letter that contained the proposals of President Vladimir V. Putin in order to meet Russia’s demands for increased cooperation.
Negotiators from the UN and Turkey spent the weekend waiting for a response from Moscow as the clock ticked down. In the days leading up to the end of the deal, grain exports from Ukrainian ports dwindled to zero.
Talks on extending it collapsed in the final hours as Russia repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the deal, which it sees as one-sided in favor of Ukraine.
A rare example of good negotiations between the warring parties, the agreement eased the deficit caused by the blockade in the first months of the war, which sent world grain prices soaring. the threat of starvation in other parts of the Middle East and Africa. It allowed Ukraine to resume exports of millions of tons of grain that had been stagnant for months, and were rescheduled several times.
But Moscow has said that while the agreement has benefited Ukraine, Western sanctions have restricted the sale of agricultural products to Russia. Last week, in an effort to counter Russia’s demands, Guterres sent Putin proposals that would “remove obstacles affecting economic activity” through Russia’s agricultural bank while allowing Ukrainian goods to continue.
In addition to its hopes for economic success, Russia has said seeking assurances to lead the export of his crops and fertilizers, and restore the ammonia pipeline through Ukraine.
Last week, Mr. Putin said that Russia “may suspend its participation in the agreement,” according to Tass, a government news agency. “And if everyone reiterates that all the promises made to us will be fulfilled – fulfill these promises. And we will join the alliance immediately. Now.”
Ukraine has exported 32.8 million tons of grain and other foodstuffs since the project began, according to UN data. Under the agreement, ships are allowed to pass through Russian naval vessels that have blocked Ukraine’s ports since Russia began its invasion in February 2022. The ships are inspected off the coast of Istanbul, in part to ensure they are not carrying weapons. .