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Putin threatens to cut off Ukrainian grain export routes

Putin threatens to cut off Ukrainian grain export routes

Posted July. 18, 2023 08:11,   

Updated July. 18, 2023 08:11


Russian President Vladimir Putin has thrown a tantrum over extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a crucial agreement that guaranteed the safe export of wheat, corn, and other Ukrainian grains even amidst the ongoing war in Ukraine. As extreme weather, including heat waves and floods, gripped the world, Putin signaled his refusal to agree to an extension before the initiative’s expiration at midnight Tuesday, increasing instability in the grain market.

During a phone call with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday, Putin stated, "The initiative does not take into account Russia's interests at all, and its main goals have not been achieved so far," according to the Moscow Times, signaling the possibility of not extending the initiative. Russia has demanded, among other things, the resumption of exports of Russian agricultural products, which Western sanctions have blocked since its invasion of Ukraine, and the reopening of a Russian fertilizer pipeline that goes through Ukraine.

Russia pulled a similar stunt last November and again in March of this year when it threatened to end the initiative but agreed to a last-minute extension. It's a kind of ‘weaponization of food.’

At least three people were killed in an explosion on Monday on the Crimea Bridge, the only bridge connecting the southern Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea to mainland Russia and a key conduit for Russian military supplies to the occupied Ukrainian territory. According to the BBC, a couple from the southern Russian province of Belgorod, who were crossing the bridge in a passenger car, were killed, and their daughter was injured.