By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Senior Russian and Ukrainian diplomats on Monday clashed at United Nations headquarters, with the Ukrainian ambassador calling Moscow’s decision to withdraw from the grain export deal “blackmail”.
Russia’s UN ambassador has accused Ukraine of using the Black Sea maritime corridor to ship grain to world markets “for military and sabotage purposes” against its fleet, warning it does not will not allow ships to pass without its approval.
At the emergency meeting of the UN Security Council called by Russia, Vasily Nebenzya accused Ukraine of carrying out “massive air and sea strikes” on the Russian fleet and infrastructure in the Black Sea in Sevastopol on October 29.
According to him, this was done with the help of the West, in particular the United Kingdom, “under the guise of the Humanitarian Grains Corridor”, which was established under the United Kingdom Grains Agreement. 22nd of July.
Accordingly, “the Russian side cannot guarantee the safety of civilian ships participating in the Black Sea Initiative,” he said.
However, Ukraine denied the allegations and said Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain export deal was strategic.
“We are outraged but not surprised by Russia’s announcement to suspend its participation in the Black Sea Green Initiative,” said Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN.
“This announcement did not come suddenly, because Russia has never given up on aggravating the food crisis as a tool of pressure and blackmail on the world.”
Twelve ships carrying grain left Ukrainian ports on Monday despite Russia’s announcement.
A ship has carried Ukrainian wheat to Ethiopia, where a severe drought is affecting millions of people.
The volume of grain transported has been questioned.
While Ukraine denied Saturday’s attack, saying Russia mismanaged its own weapons, Moscow still announced it was retaliating by ending its participation in the UN-brokered deal and Turkey.
The United States criticized Russia’s decision. “Russia is once again demonstrating its willingness to weaponize food,” said Jeffrey DeLaurentis, US Deputy Ambassador to the UN.
“His actions have a direct impact on low- and middle-income countries by increasing global food prices and exacerbating already serious humanitarian crises in global food security.”
Turkey is determined to put the deal back on the table after partially brokering the much-awaited deal in July.
Turkey’s top diplomat at the UN, Feridun Sinirlioglu, said “the Black Sea Grain Initiative must continue”.
“Trust between nations with different levels of development has been hard won and can be easily lost unless we take proactive steps today.”