(HorizonPost.com) – The deal that allowed the safe export of Ukrainian grain from the Black Sea expired on Monday after Moscow walked away from negotiations, warning that it would no longer guarantee the safety of ships, Reuters reported.
The Russian Foreign Ministry had suggested that if its demands to improve the export of Russian grain and fertilizer were met, it might reconsider the Black Sea deal.
Russia’s exports of food and fertilizer were exempted from the sanctions imposed after it invaded Ukraine. However, Moscow has argued that restrictions on logistics, insurance, and payments have amounted to sanctions on exports.
The Kremlin had demanded that its agricultural bank Rosselkhozbank be reconnected to the international payment system SWIFT and that its ammonia exports through a pipeline to Odesa be resumed.
However, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the UN pact to help Russia’s exports was also terminated.
Russia told the UN’s International Maritime Organization that Moscow was revoking its “guarantees for the safety of navigation” and it would “neutralize” any threats from Kyiv in the Black Sea by taking “proactive necessary actions” and responsive measures.
Last July’s Black Sea deal was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to ease the global food crisis after Russia invaded one of the world’s top grain exporters.
Guterres said of Russia’s decision to walk away that hundreds of millions will now “pay the price.” He said the UN would continue working to get grain and fertilizers from Ukraine and Russia into the global market.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Moscow of continuing to weaponize food, harming millions around the world.
The collapse of the deal is bad news for China, which is the top beneficiary of the grain shipments facilitated by last year’s deal.
According to Politico, Western officials are now hoping Beijing might be able to encourage Moscow to return to the negotiating table.
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