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1 Nov, 2022 08:27

Zelensky ‘nullified’ grain shipping deal – Moscow

Vyacheslav Volodin says the agreement on Ukrainian grain exports can’t continue on the “old terms”
Zelensky ‘nullified’ grain shipping deal – Moscow

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has rendered an internationally brokered grain shipping agreement void by using safe passage in the Black Sea to strike Russian warships, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, has claimed.

Moscow has asserted that Kiev dispatched attack drones, last weekend, via a route designated for grain vessels.

“The resumption of the grain deal is impossible as long as the safe corridor is being used for terrorist attacks,” Volodin wrote on his Telegram channel on Tuesday. “With his actions, Zelensky has nullified all of the agreements that were brokered by Türkiye and the UN.”

The senior legislator said the use of the safe corridor for the attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is “unacceptable” and that the grain agreement “cannot exist on the old terms.” 

Under the deal struck in July, the sides agreed to unblock the export of grain and other agricultural products from Ukrainian ports. Ukraine, a major producer, is among the vital suppliers of wheat, corn, and barley.

On Saturday, Moscow accused Kiev of sending aerial and seaborne drones to strike warships in the city of Sevastopol in Crimea, which hosts a naval base. A minesweeper was damaged in the raid, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

The ministry claimed that the drones moved along the corridor set up for grain ships, and that one device may have been launched from a civilian vessel hired to transport grain. Moscow also said that a British Navy unit masterminded the attack. London has dismissed the accusation. Russia subsequently announced the closure of the corridor on Monday.

Zelensky accused Russia of blackmail and “deliberately exacerbating the food crisis.”

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that only 3-5% of grain that had been shipped through the safe corridor went to poorer countries.

The UN, however, reported last month that 27% of the ships went to “low and lower-middle income countries” such as Egypt, Kenya, and Bangladesh. It said that 26% went to “upper-middle income countries” such as Türkiye and China, while 47% went to “high-income” nations such as Spain and Italy.