Russia suspends Ukraine grain deal after Black Sea drone attack

MOSCOW, 30 Oct 2022:

Russia announced the indefinite suspension of the pact allowing grain exports from Ukraine following yesterday’s drone attack on the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

“In light of the terrorist act carried out by the Kyiv regime with the participation of British experts against ships of the Black Sea fleet and civilian vessels involved in the security of grain corridors, Russia suspends its participation in the implementation of the agreement on the export of agricultural products from Ukrainian ports,” the Russian defence ministry said.

The United Nations worked with Turkey to secure the grain deal and the spokesman for secretary-general Antonio Guterres yesterday said the UN had already reached out to Moscow in hopes of persuading the Russians to continue the programme.

“It is vital that all parties refrain from any action that would imperil the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which is a critical humanitarian effort that is clearly having a positive impact on access to food for millions of people,” Stephane Dujarric said.

Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russia of using “a false pretext to block the grain corridor.”

Kyiv had earlier said the explosions in Sevastopol were the result of Russian negligence and that the blasts damaged four vessels of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

Russia’s defence ministry said a minesweeper had suffered minor damage in an attack involving nine aerial drones and seven unmanned naval craft.

Sevastopol regional governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said that city’s air defences downed the Ukrainian drones during the attack at around 4.30am.

The attack did not cause any damage to the port installations at Sevastopol, added the governor.

Besides accusing the UK of involvement in yesterday’s attack, the Russian defence ministry blamed British military personnel for the sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 natural gas pipelines.

London rejected the charges as “false claims of an epic scale.”

Spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova, said relevant organs of the Russian government will weigh “practical steps” regarding ostensible British participation in the attack on Sevastopol.