Russia Suspends Participation In Ukraine Grain Deal After “Massive” Drone Attack On Black Sea Fleet

Russia suspended its participation in the Ukraine grain export deal after a swarm of drones targeted at least one Russian warship from the Black Sea navy.

Following the attack, Moscow immediately suspended its compliance with the deal, known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which was formed and launched in July and ended a five-month Russian blockade of Ukraine’s ports. The United Nations and Turkey brokered the deal, allowing safe passage for cargo ships in and out of Ukraine’s ports to haul farm goods worldwide. The deal was set to expire on Nov. 19.

According to Reuters, here’s what the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement about the “massive” drone attack on the Black Sea Fleet in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol:

“Taking into account… the terrorist act by the Kyiv regime with the participation of British experts against the ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civilian vessels involved in ensuring the security of the “grain corridor,” the Russian side suspends participation in the implementation of agreements on the export of agricultural products from Ukrainian ports,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said earlier that the drone attacks on Saturday were largely repelled, with minor damage to a Russian minesweeper.

The ministry then described the “terrorist attack”:

“In the course of repelling a terrorist attack on the outer roadstead of Sevastopol, the use of naval weapons and naval aviation of the Black Sea Fleet destroyed four marine unmanned vehicles, three more devices were destroyed on the internal roadstead,” the statement continued. 

Here are alleged videos of the attack.

NYT reported the UN has been in contact with Russian officials regarding the comments from the Russian Defense Ministry about suspending participation in the deal.

“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,” Stéphane Dujarric de la Rivière, the spokesman for António Guterres, the UN secretary general, said.

As we reported recently, Russia has been on the fence about extending the grain deal unless Moscow’s demands over its own ag exports were met.  The reversal of the agreement could result in a sharp spike in grain prices.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, warned that Russia would try to get out of the deal. He tweeted:

“Now Moscow uses a false pretext to block the grain corridor which ensures food security for millions of people. I call on all states to demand Russia to stop its hunger games and recommit to its obligations.”

UN chief Antonio Guterres on Friday asked Russia and Ukraine to extend the grain deal, but now that appears not to be the case, and global food shortage fears are going to make a comeback in the headlines.

Via Zero Hedge