Today, November 2, Russia agreed to resume a deal allowing the safe passage of Ukrainian crop exports, abruptly reversing course after Türkiye and the United Nations pushed ahead with the shipments over Moscow’s objections. Wheat prices dropped on the news, Bloomberg reports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia was resuming participation in the deal because it had received “written guarantees” from Ukraine that the safe-passage corridor wouldn’t be used for military purposes, according to Bloomberg. Ukraine has long said it wouldn’t use it for such operations.
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has been blockading the Ukrainian seaports since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February. The grain deal was signed in late July.
On October 29, Russia’s Defense Ministry said that Moscow would suspend its implementation of the UN-brokered grain export deal that allowed millions of tons of grain to be exported from Ukraine. The ministry announced that after a Ukrainian surface drone attack on Russian cruise missile carriers at the Sevastopol bay in occupied Crimea. The Russian Defense Ministry called the Ukrainian attack on Russian warships a “terrorist act.” Later Russia’s Foreign Ministry came out with a statement that Ukraine had ostensibly used the grain corridor for the attack on the Black Sea Fleet.
Ukraine, the UN, and Türkiye, however, ignored the Russian announcement and 12 bulk carriers with Ukrainian grain left the ports of Greater Odesa on 31 October. Moreover, the UN said that the grain deal was still in force despite the Russian statements.