Repeated Attempts by the Russian Federation to Disrupt the “Grain Agreement” Increase the Risk of a Global Food Crisis

Russia is once again trying to blackmail Ukraine and the whole world, claiming the alleged “lack of prospects” for the continuation of the “grain deal”. This was announced on June 5 by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Sergey Vershinin.

This is another attempt by Russia to blackmail the West in order to get political dividends. In the spring of this year, the RF’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not hide their readiness to exchange the opening of corridors for the supply of grain from Ukraine in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

In addition, Putin does not abandon attempts to create artificial famine and the flood of refugees into developed countries. After all, the food shortage caused by Russian aggression against Ukraine threatens a new wave of migration from Africa and Asia to European countries.

Today, the “grain agreement” gives Russia a unique opportunity to monitor the Black Sea shipping, despite the fact that it has legal rights to only 10 % of the Black Sea coast and is a party to the Montreux Convention, which was designed to ensure free trade through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles Straits. According to the Convention, only Turkey, not Russia, is the guarantor of complete freedom of navigation there.

Despite the fact that on June 4, the Russian Federation resumed the registration of ships entering and leaving Ukrainian ports as part of the “grain deal”, it violates the established algorithm of their registration and inspection. It registered two incoming vessels that were declared to participate in the grain initiative on the same day. This is contrary to the accepted rules for the inspection of vessels, which provide that those that have been waiting for the longest time — i.e. 56 vessels, some of which have been waiting in Turkish territorial waters for 3 months already — are inspected first. At the same time, Moscow enjoys free use of its Black Sea ports, Russian ships are not inspected in the Bosphorus. Thus, Russia can safely use these circumstances to receive military goods and continue the war against Ukraine.

On the morning of April 6, Russia once again committed a war crime by blowing up the Kakhovka HPP dam, which will cause significant damage to Ukraine’s agriculture, negatively affect its export opportunities and, ultimately, may deal a severe blow to the world’s food security. This terrorist attack destroys the irrigation system in the south of Ukraine, which will affect the volume of the grain harvest, which is a guarantee of food stability in the second half of 2023 — the beginning of 2024.

Putin does not even plan to stop. He is ready to go even further, using world hunger as a weapon, and blackmailing African countries with the termination of the “grain agreement” on the eve of the Russia-Africa Summit, which will be held in St. Petersburg from July 26 to 29 this year. Russia wants to enlist the support of African countries in the war against Ukraine in exchange for food security at the summit.

Therefore, the Kremlin’s attempts to disrupt the “grain agreement” must be stopped, and Russia with its terrorist actions deserves only sanctions and increased global isolation.