The Russian government is allowing the Black Sea grain deal to expire, saying on Monday “it has been terminated.”

The agreement, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July 2022, was officially set to expire at 5 p.m. ET on Monday (midnight local in Istanbul, Kyiv, and Moscow). The deal allowed Ukraine to export grain from its ports and navigate safe passage through the Black Sea, to Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait.

“Unfortunately, the part of the Black Sea agreements concerning Russia has not been implemented so far,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday. “Therefore, its deal has been terminated. As soon as the Russian part is completed, the Russian side will return to the implementation of this deal immediately.

The Russian government has formally informed Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations that it is allowing the deal to expire, foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told state media RIA Novosti on Monday.

When asked, Peskov denied that Russia’s decision to allow the deal to lapse was related to Ukraine’s claimed strike on the Crimean Bridge on Monday, which connects mainland Russia to the peninsula.

Key background: The Black Sea grain deal imposed measures for the safe export of grain from Ukrainian ports after Russia launched its invasion and barricaded docks in the region.

The key deal helped stabilize global food prices and brought relief to countries in the Global South that rely on Ukrainian exports.

But Russian President Vladimir Putin told his South African counterpart on Saturday that “the relevant Russia-UN memorandum to remove obstacles to the export of Russian food and fertilizers still remain unfulfilled,” according to the Kremlin.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week accused Russia of using the grain deal “as a weapon.”

Source: CNN

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