Crimean bridge attack in Ukraine: Putin slammed for ‘cynical’ move as Russia ends Black Sea grain deal

Crimean Bridge badly damaged after ‘multiple explosions’ in early morning

Vladimir Putin has been lambasted for his ‘cynical decision’ to end the Black Sea grain export deal after the Crimean bridge was hit on Monday.

Russia said it had halted its participation in the landmark UN-brokered deal that allowed the export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea just hours after Moscow said Ukraine had attacked the border line. critical Russian supply built by Mr Putin amid reports of multiple explosions.

European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen “strongly condemned Russia’s cynical decision” in a tweet, adding that the EU would continue to work to ensure food security for poor countries.

Moscow’s decision comes after Russia’s Investigative Committee said Kiev was behind the ‘attack’ on the bridge, which is a major supply artery for Russian troops fighting in Ukraine and which had already been bombed in October. He then opened a terrorism case.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has not officially confirmed or denied its involvement, and the country’s military has suggested that Moscow may be responsible.

Three Ukrainian media quoted unnamed sources as saying that Ukraine’s internal security agency and navy were behind the incident, adding that they used maritime drones to attack it.

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EU condemns Russia’s termination of grain deal with Ukraine as ‘cynical measure’

European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday called Russia’s decision to suspend a Black Sea grain export deal a “cynical decision”, adding that the EU would continue to working to ensure food security in poor countries.

Russia said it had halted its participation in a landmark UN-brokered deal that allowed Ukrainian grain to be exported through the Black Sea just hours after Moscow said Ukraine attacked the Crimean Bridge . Grain and oilseed prices have already risen in response to news that Russia will suspend its participation in the deal.

“I strongly condemn Russia’s cynical decision to end the Black Sea Grains Initiative, despite the efforts of the UN and Turkey. The EU is working to ensure the food security of vulnerable people around the world. EU solidarity pathways will continue to get agri-food products out of Ukraine and into global markets,” von der Leyen said in a Tweet.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Moscow’s move was unjustified and used food as a weapon in the conflict with Ukraine.

“It’s something very serious that will create a lot of problems for many people around the world,” Borrell told reporters during a summit with South and Central American countries. . “I have to blame Russia for this decision. (It’s) completely unjustified, weaponizing people’s hunger.”

Ukraine is a major producer of grains and oilseeds and the interruption of its exports at the start of the war pushed world food prices to record highs. The deal, reached in July 2022 some five months after the start of the war, has helped lower prices and ease a global food crisis.

Tara CobhamJuly 17, 2023 3:05 p.m.

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Foreign Minister condemned Russia for its grain initiative

In a statement, James Cleverly said: “The UK condemns in the strongest terms Russia’s decision to withdraw from the Black Sea Grains Initiative.

“Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine has impeded the free movement of grain and other foodstuffs across the Black Sea, causing suffering around the world. We urge Russia to join the initiative, which was developed by the UN in 2022, and allow the unhindered export of grain.

“While grain exports from Ukraine are limited, Russian food exports are at higher levels than before the invasion.

“We have always been clear that the target of our sanctions is the Russian war machine and not the food and fertilizer sectors. Contrary to Russian claims, the UN and other partners have taken significant steps to ensure that Russian food can access global markets.

“The best way for Russia to address global food security concerns would be for it to withdraw its forces from Ukraine and end the war.”

The Minister of Foreign Affairs condemned Russia, after ending an agreement allowing the delivery of grain from Ukraine to countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

matt drakeJuly 17, 2023 5:21 p.m.

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Analysis | What the Crimean Bridge attack means for Ukraine’s counteroffensive

In this Independent Voices piece, our global affairs editor Kim Sengupta writing :

The latest attack on the Kerch Bridge came just weeks after Putin claimed Ukrainian forces were suffering ‘catastrophic’ losses in the ongoing counteroffensive by Volodymyr Zelensky’s government and that he could order the seizure of more of land to protect Russia’s borders. “We will have to think about creating a sanitary zone in Ukraine to prevent it from hitting our territory,” he warned.

The explosion on the bridge shows that even if a new “sanitary zone” is established, it is unlikely to be enough to prevent Ukraine – armed with modern Western drones, missiles and artillery – from inflicting destruction inside Russia.

It is far from certain that Ukraine will recover Crimea. But, with the current offensive, with a limited and slow recovery of territory, the attack on Kerch is a powerful symbol and a morale-boosting action.

Andy GregoireJuly 17, 2023 4:57 p.m.

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Watch: Trump reveals plan after claiming he’ll end war in Ukraine ‘in 24 hours’

Trump reveals his plan after claiming he would end the war in Ukraine ‘within 24 hours’

Tara CobhamJuly 17, 2023 4:10 p.m.

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Ukraine wants use of Black Sea grain corridor to continue

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Monday that everything must be done to ensure the Black Sea grain export corridor continues to be used after Russia ended its participation, his spokesman said.

“Even without the Russian Federation, everything must be done so that we can use this Black Sea corridor. We are not afraid,” spokesman Serhiy Nykyforov quoted Zelenskiy as saying. “We have been approached by companies, shipowners. They said they are ready, if Ukraine lets them through, and Turkey continues to let them through, then everyone is ready to continue supplying grain.”

Zelenskiy said Ukraine has two agreements on grain exports – one with Turkey and the United Nations, and the other with Russia, Turkey and the United Nations. He ordered the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to prepare an official note to the UN and Turkey indicating whether they would be ready to pursue the initiative.

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who is in New York this week to take part in a meeting of the UN Security Council, urged Russia to stop “playing the hunger games”.

“The immediate result of not extending the deal will mean that grain prices around the world will go up, and people in the most vulnerable parts of Asia, Africa, will feel it, and that’s the result. Russian stocks,” Kuleba said in an interview with CBS Mornings. “Thus, Russia is using hunger as an instrument to blackmail the world, pursuing its own commercial interests. Stop playing the hunger games.”

Tara CobhamJuly 17, 2023 3:55 p.m.

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Russia ending grain deal ‘will hurt millions,’ White House warns

Russia’s suspension of a pact that allowed the export of grain to the Black Sea from Ukraine “will worsen food security and harm millions of people,” the White House said on Monday.

“We urge the Russian government to immediately reverse its decision,” White House National Security Council spokesman Adam Hodge said in a statement.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Monday called Moscow’s move an “act of cruelty”.

“Russia has dealt yet another blow to the world’s most vulnerable, this time by suspending its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. This is truly another act of cruelty,” she told reporters.

Tara CobhamJuly 17, 2023 3:40 p.m.

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“Russia’s decision on grain deal is final” – state news agency quotes official

Russia’s decision not to extend the Black Sea grains deal is final and no further discussions are planned, the official TASS news agency said on Monday, citing a senior Russian official at the United Nations.

Tara CobhamJuly 17, 2023 3:37 p.m.

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End of grains deal ‘risks holding global food security hostage’, says IRC chair

The president and chief executive of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said the expiration of the Black Sea grain export deal “risks holding global food security hostage”.

David Miliband said: “The IRC is deeply alarmed by Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grains Initiative, jeopardizing the future of grain exports from the region – a decision that will be felt most painfully. by the 349 million people in the world facing food insecurity today. From Ukraine to Somalia, IRC clients are dealing with the ripple effects on food and energy prices of 500 days of war. The expiry of the agreement risks holding global food security hostage.

Tara CobhamJuly 17, 2023 3:21 p.m.

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Watch live: UN Secretary-General provides update on Black Sea grain exports

Tara CobhamJuly 17, 2023 3:11 p.m.

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Watch live: Last grain ship arrives in Turkey after Russia pulls out of Ukraine deal

Tara CobhamJuly 17, 2023 3:00 p.m.

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