Russia has ceased its participation in the Black Sea grain deal.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, July 17, 2023, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin Spokesman, declared, “In fact, the Black Sea agreements ceased to be valid today.”
“Unfortunately, the part of these Black Sea agreements concerning Russia has not been implemented so far, so its effect is terminated,” Peskov added.
The agreement between Ukraine and Russia was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July last year. It came with a separate deal to facilitate shipments of Russian food and fertiliser.
The United Nations and Turkey-brokered pact, which allowed Ukraine to export grain safely from its Black Sea ports to other parts of the world helped alleviate a global food crisis. Ukraine and Russia are two of the world’s biggest grain exporters.
However, the deal was due to expire on Monday, July 17, 2023. Russia agreed three times in the past year to extend the deal but decided not to do so this time around. The country had been saying for months that conditions for its extension had not been fulfilled.
A Russian state news agency cited foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova as saying that Moscow had notified Ukraine, Turkey and the UN about its decision on the deal.
Later on Monday, Moscow’s ambassador to Belarus, Boris Gryzlov, disclosed that Russia has formally notified Ukraine, via the Russian embassy in Minsk, that it was suspending its participation in the Black Sea grain deal.
Gryzlov said that a note had been sent from the embassy to Ukraine via diplomatic channels, and that the deal would be terminated from July 18, 2023.
The Kremlin’s announcement comes after an overnight attack on the Crimean Bridge, which Moscow blames Kyiv for.
According to Russia’s National Antiterrorism Committee, Ukraine attacked the Crimean Bridge overnight using unmanned drones on the water’s surface.
Additionally, Russia’s Investigative Committee disclosed in a statement that Ukrainian “special services” were responsible for the attack and that it had opened a criminal investigation.
Without providing evidence to her claims, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova also accused Ukraine of carrying out the attack on the bridge with the involvement of the United Kingdom and the United States.
“Today’s attack on the Crimean Bridge was carried out by the Kyiv regime. This regime is terrorist and has all the hallmarks of an international organized crime group.
“Decisions are made by Ukrainian officials and the military with the direct participation of American and British intelligence agencies and politicians. The U.S and Britain are in charge of a terrorist state structure.”Maria Zakharova
Several videos and photographs have emerged on social media showing the extent of the damage to the bridge.
No Link Between The Crimean Bridge Attack And Russia’s Decision
Nonetheless, Peskov disclosed that there was no link between the overnight attack on the Crimean Bridge and Russia’s decision to suspend its participation in the Black Sea grain deal.
Peskov emphasized that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s position on the deal had been known before the attack.
One of Russia’s state news agencies announced that Russia’s decision to suspend its participation in the Black Sea grain deal will have a “positive effect” on the country’s domestic grain market.
The report added that according to the Russian Grain Union, the deal had brought “only harm”.
Meanwhile, Germany continues to appeal to Russia to extend the Black Sea grain deal, the country’s government spokesperson said.
Asked at a regular news conference in Berlin about blasts on the Crimean Bridge, the spokesperson replied that Berlin does not comment on individual developments in the war.