Russia follows grain deal pull out with missile strikes, demands and threats to merchant ships

Written by Nick Blenkey
Putin talks about return to Black Sea grain deal

Putin says Russia will return to Black Sea grain deal if a string of demands are met

Following two nights of missile and drone strikes that reportedly destroyed 60,000 tonnes of grain in Ukraine’s port of Odesa region, Russian President Vladmir Putin today set out his demands for renewing the Black Sea grain deal, while the Russian defense ministry threatened strikes on merchant ships and retaliatory measures against their flag states.

According to Russian state-controlled news agency TASS, Putin today told officials that Russia is ready to return to the grain deal immediately if all previously agreed-upon conditions for its participation in the initiative are met and the arrangement’s “original humanitarian essence” is restored.

According to TASS, Putin’s specific demands include “lifting sanctions on Russian grain and fertilizer deliveries, removing all obstacles for Russian banks servicing food supplies to the global market, including their connection to SWIFT, resuming deliveries of components and spare parts for agricultural machinery and fertilizer production to Russia, resolving all issues with ship chartering and insurance of Russian food exports, resuming operations of the Togliatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline, unblocking Russian agricultural assets, and restoring the grain deal’s original humanitarian intent.”


Separately, Tass quoted the defense ministry as saying that “Russia will view all ships going across the Black Sea to Ukrainian ports as carrying military cargoes, starting from this coming midnight.

“Given that the Black Sea initiative has come to an end and the maritime humanitarian corridor has been terminated, all ships going across the Black Sea to Ukrainian ports will be considered potential carriers of military-purpose cargoes, starting from 12:00 a.m. Moscow time on July 20, 2023,” the ministry said.

It said the flag states of such ships will be viewed as participating in the Ukrainian conflict on the side of Kiev.

“A number of sea areas in the northwestern and southeastern international waters of the Black Sea have been declared temporarily dangerous for navigation,” the ministry said. “The appropriate warning notices about the withdrawal of safety guarantees to mariners have been issued in accordance with the established procedure.”

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