UK tells Vladimir Putin not to stop vital grain reaching ‘world’s hungry’


Britain has told Vladimir Putin not to stop supplies of vital food grains reaching the world’s starving,

On Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the suspension of a vital UN-brokered grain export deal that saw more than nine million tonnes exported from Ukraine and brought down global food prices.

As the reason for this, the ministry cited an alleged Ukrainian drone attack on ships of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet moored off the coast of occupied Crimea. Ukraine has denied the attack, which Moscow says took place early Saturday.

Following the Russian government’s decision, Foreign Secretary James Cleverley said: “The UN Black Sea Grain Initiative is a tool for global food security.

“Russia must allow grain exports to reach the world’s hungry.”

According to the Russian-appointed governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhaev, “Black Sea Fleet ships repelled a drone attack in the waters of Sevastopol Bay” – this has not been confirmed by another source.

Ukraine’s foreign minister said Russia was “using a false pretext” to justify the move to suspend the grain deal.

The Russian declaration came a day after UN chief Antonio Guterres called on Russia and Ukraine to extend the agreement.

Mr Guterres also urged other countries, mainly in the West, to speed up the removal of obstacles blocking Russian grain and fertilizer exports.

The UN chief stressed the urgency of renewing the deal brokered by the UN and Turkey in July, which expires on November 19, “to contribute to food security around the world and to alleviate the suffering this global cost-of-living crisis is inflicting on billions of people,” his spokesman said.

He added that UN officials are in contact with Russian authorities regarding the announced suspension.

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

Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, said that before Moscow would discuss a renewal, “Russia needs to see exports of its grain and fertilizers to the world market, which has never happened since the start of the deal.”

Despite his comments, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said his country had “warned of Russia’s plans to derail” the deal.

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