Russia planned to exit grain export deal long time ago – UK intelligence

Russia planned to exit grain export deal long time ago – UK intelligence

The Russian authorities planned to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative a long time ago and masked this with disinformation.

The UK Defense Ministry said this in its intelligence update on Ukraine published on Twitter, Ukrinform reports.

"On 17 July 2023, Russia failed to renew its involvement in the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI). This effectively nullified the security agreement which, despite the war, had ensured the safe passage of vessels exporting grain from Ukraine. Russia is aiming to deter all merchant shipping from Ukrainian ports. Russia likely made the decision to leave some time ago because it decided that the deal was no longer serving its interests," the ministry said.

It added that Russia had masked the decision with disinformation, claiming its withdrawal is instead due to concerns that civilian ships are at risk from Ukrainian mines and that Ukraine was making military use of the grain corridor without providing evidence for these claims.

"On 19 July 2023, the Russian MoD said it would assume all vessels approaching Ukraine were carrying weapons. The Russian Black Sea Fleet (BSF) will likely now take a more active role in disrupting any trade which continues. However, BSF blockade operations will be at risk from Ukrainian uncrewed surface vehicles and coastal defense cruise missiles," the ministry said.

On July 17, Russia announced its withdrawal from the Black Sea grain export deal, which was signed on July 22, 2022 in Istanbul for 120 days and was extended several times.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the grain initiative could continue without Russia's participation and that by its actions, Russia is disrupting its own agreements with Turkey and the UN, since Ukraine does not have any agreements with the Russians.

On July 19, Russia carried out a missile attack on grain terminals in Ukrainian ports. The infrastructure of international and Ukrainian traders and carriers was damaged.

In the port of Chornomorsk, 60,000 tonnes of grain were destroyed due to Russia's shelling of the port infrastructure.

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