July 18, 2023: On Monday, Russia said it had arrested a humanitarian corridor to deliver important Ukrainian grains to international markets hours before the agreement’s expiry.
First signed in July 2022, the U.N.-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative has been frequently introduced in short increments amid increasing discontent from Russia over perceived rules that specify the full dispatch of its grain and fertilizer exports.
Russian Head of State Vladimir Putin reiterated these objections over a weekend call with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, saying, according to a Google-translated report from the Kremlin, that the critical objective of providing grain to governments in need, including those on the African mainland, had not been conducted under the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
The deal was set up to decrease a global food crisis after Moscow launched a full-scale attack of fellow key grain exporter and neighbor Ukraine. It was assigned to lapse at midnight, Istanbul time, on Monday.
“The Black Sea agreements ceased to be valid. As the President of the Russian Federation said earlier, the deadline is July 17. Unfortunately, the part connecting to Russia in this Black Sea concurrence has not been executed. Therefore, its effect is terminated,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in Google-translated comments reported by Russian state news agency Tass on Monday.
Moscow has officially notified Ankara, Kyiv, and the U.N. secretariat that it opposed extending the initiative. Tass cited Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying on a Google-translated Telegram post of the news organization.
“Only if concrete results are received, not promises and oaths, will Russia be ready to consider resuming the ‘deal,'” the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said information on Facebook, according to a Google translation. It stressed that the agreement expired on July 18 and was only “directed to fill the narrow self-interests” of Kyiv and its Western allies.
Peskov said that Moscow’s complaint to prolonging the grain deal was communicated even before an explosion on a Crimean bridge that reportedly killed two and halted traffic which Russian-backed officials have called a “terrorist attack” and blamed on Ukraine.
The European Union has condemned the Kremlin’s exit from the agreement.