Russia’s defense ministry said on Saturday it was suspending its participation in a UN-brokered grain export deal with Ukraine following a drone strike on the Crimean city of Sevastopol.
Moscow blames Kyiv for the attack. CNN was unable to independently verify the Russian report, and Ukraine has yet to acknowledge the incident.
“In view of the acts of terror carried out by the Kyiv regime on 29 October this year, with the participation of British experts, against the ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civilian vessels involved in the security of the “Grain Corridor”, the Russian side will participate in the implementation of the Agreement on the Export of Agricultural Products from Ukrainian Ports, ”said the Russian Defense Ministry in a statement.
Britain has denied Russia’s allegations that it helped Ukraine plan the drone attack on Crimea, saying Russia is “spreading false allegations on a grand scale”.
background: In July, after months of negotiations, ministers from both Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey. Russia has pledged to lift the blockade of Black Sea ports to allow the safe passage of grains and oilseeds, some of Ukraine’s most important exports.
The contract is set to expire next month, and Moscow officials have questioned whether they will extend their participation.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday that “there is a lot of work to be done” before the deal is renewed. Putin also said Moscow would close export corridors if they were used to carry out a “terrorist attack”.
Nonetheless, Ukraine’s infrastructure minister expressed optimism about the deal earlier this month, saying there is “no doubt that the grain corridor will continue to function beyond its November 22 expiration.” .
The World Food Program estimates that tens of millions of people have transitioned to a stage of acute starvation as a result of the Ukraine war, and Western officials have accused Russia of using food as a weapon during the invasion. ing.