UN warns of heightened tension in Black Sea after Russia's withdrawal from grain deal

UN warns of heightened tension in Black Sea after Russia's withdrawal from grain deal

New wave of attacks on Ukrainian ports risks having far-reaching impacts on global food security, says UN political affairs chief

By Betul Yuruk

UNITED NATIONS (AA) - The UN warned on Friday that Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal, coupled with its bombardment of crucial ports, will compound the crisis.

"We have now witnessed a further blow to global food security, as Russia, for the fourth consecutive day, struck Ukraine’s Black Sea ports in Odesa, Chornomorsk and Mykolaiv with missiles and drones, destroying critical port infrastructure, facilities and grain supplies," UN political affairs chief, Rosemary DiCarlo, told the Security Council.

DiCarlo strongly condemned the attacks and urged Russia to stop them immediately.

"The new wave of attacks on Ukrainian ports risks having far-reaching impacts on global food security, in particular, in developing countries," she warned.

"Threats regarding potential targeting of civilian vessels navigating in the Black Sea waters are unacceptable," she added.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths described Russia's termination of the grain deal as "immensely disappointing".

"But for many of those 362 million people, it's not a matter of sadness or disappointment: It's a matter of threat to their future and the future of their children and their families," he said. "They're not sad, they're angry. They're worried, they're concerned. Some will go hungry, some will starve, many may die as a result of these decisions".

Griffiths implored the Security Council to help to make every effort to restore the grain deal.

The accord was signed in Istanbul in July last year by Russia, Ukraine, Türkiye and the UN, creating a safe corridor through the Black Sea for exports from three Ukrainian ports halted since the war began in February 2022.

It helped rein in spiraling prices and ease a global food crisis by restoring the flow of wheat, sunflower oil, fertilizer and other products from Ukraine, one of the largest grain exporters in the world.

Moscow this week refused to extend the agreement beyond July 17, saying parts related to its demands have “not been implemented so far,” referring to the removal of obstacles to its own fertilizer exports, including the inclusion of the state-owned Russian Agricultural Bank in the SWIFT international payment system.

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