Russia withdraws from “grain deal”: Ukraine ready to continue initiative on its own

July 18,2023 536
Russia withdraws from “grain deal”: Ukraine ready to continue initiative on its own

Ukraine is ready to continue functioning in the “grain corridor” within the Black Sea Grain Initiative framework without Russia. Zelenskyy instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to send appropriate official signals to the United Nations and Türkiye, which acted as mediators of the agreement.

“We had two agreements: Ukraine, Turkey, UN; another agreement – Russia, Turkey, UN. Therefore, when Russia says it is stopping, it breaks its agreements with UN Secretary-General Guterres and President Erdoğan. Not with us. We did not have any agreements with them,” the President of Ukraine said.

According to Zelenskyy, everything must be done to continue the work of the corridor without the Russian Federation.

“We are not afraid. We were approached by companies that own ships. They said that they are ready; if Ukraine lets go, and Turkey continues to let go, then everyone is ready to continue supplying grain,” the President of Ukraine added.

Russia disrupted the “grain deal” extension on Monday, July 17. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation announced that they are closing the maritime humanitarian corridor in the Black Sea’s north-western waters, thus restoring the regime of a temporarily dangerous area there.

“Contrary to the declared humanitarian goals, the export of Ukrainian food was almost immediately transferred to a purely commercial basis,” the Russian side explained its decision.

However, according to the media, Russia blackmailed the European Union by withdrawing from the “grain deal” and demanding its banks’ connection to the SWIFT system. In particular, by creating a subsidiary of the under-sanctioned Rosselkhozbank (Russian Agricultural Bank). “SWIFT ensures the security of money exchanges and facilitates cross-border money transfers. If the country is deprived of such a system, it will bring its banking sector back 30 years,” the journalists explain.

At the same time, Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is convinced that the Russian President wants the so-called “grain deal” to continue and is planning a telephone conversation with Putin.

The European Union called on Russia to immediately continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative operation. “This will endanger food security & access of populations worldwide to grain and fertilizer supplies,” Charles Michel, President of the European Council, emphasized.

Cover: Mehmet Caliskan | Reuters

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