MOSCOW– Russia announced Saturday that Moscow would immediately and indefinitely suspend its implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, accusing Ukraine of launching drone attacks under British guidance.
“On Oct. 29, the Ukrainian Armed Forces, under the cover of the humanitarian corridor set up for the implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative for the export of Ukrainian agricultural products, launched massive air and sea strikes using drones against the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s ships and infrastructure at the naval base in Sevastopol,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Ukraine and Britain denied the accusation, while the United Nations called for restraint by all parties. As a result of the “terrorist attack” against Russian ships, the Russian side can no longer guarantee the safety of civilian dry cargo ships participating in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, it added.
The Ukrainian drone attacks on Sevastopol were prepared under the guidance of British navy specialists, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Russian military reported that they have information on the involvement of the British security services in a series of explosions on the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea.
However, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted on Saturday that “now Moscow uses a false pretext to block the grain corridor which ensures food security for millions of people.”
The Ukrainian Infrastructure Ministry said it is ready to continue gathering and shipping agricultural products to ensure global food security despite Russia’s plan to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
Calling Russia’s claim an “invented story,” the British Defense Ministry said that Russia is “resorting to peddling false claims of an epic scale” to distract attention from Russian military actions.
Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said on Saturday that the UN is in touch with Russia after the latter announced the suspension of its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
“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 around the world,” said the spokesman.
On July 22, Russia and Ukraine separately signed a document in Istanbul with Türkiye and the UN on grain and fertilizer exports from Ukraine and Russia to ensure supplies to global markets amid the Russia-Ukraine armed conflict.
The initial duration of the agreement is 120 days.
The parties had agreed that the deal could be extended automatically on the condition that no party objects.
On Friday, Guterres called for the renewal of the agreement. – Xinhua