UN warns of consequences after grain deal renewal was foiled
United Nations expresses willingness to continue working with parties involved in the Grain Deal.
On Friday, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, issued a warning, stressing the critical importance of avoiding any possibility of the Ukrainian conflict spilling over due to a military incident in the Black Sea. She emphasized that all necessary measures must be taken to prevent potentially catastrophic consequences.
"We strongly urge restraint from any further rhetoric or action that could deteriorate the already dangerous situation. Any risk of conflict spillover as a result of a military incident in the Black Sea whether intentional or by accident must be avoided at all costs as this could result in potentially catastrophic consequences to us all," DiCarlo said during a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine.
Furthermore, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, stated that the United Nations seeks to maintain its support for all parties engaged in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. He also cautioned against the use of escalatory rhetoric in response to Russia's decision to terminate the agreement.
"The bottom line is that food and fertilizer exports from Ukraine and the Russian Federation remain of crucial importance to global food security. The United Nations will therefore continue its engagement with all involved to ensure that Russian and Ukrainian food and fertilizer can continue to reach global markets: to ease prices and strengthen food security around the world," Griffith told the Security Council members. "Escalatory rhetoric [following Russia’s withdrawal from the Grain Deal] also threatens to further undermine the safe transportation of food through the Black Sea more broadly."
In the same context, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that alternatives to the Black Sea grain deal are being considered, but he is doubtful that any of them will be able to account for the volumes lost by ending the initiative.
"We are looking for alternatives, but I don't think it's possible to make up the volumes lost by ending this initiative through other routes," Blinken said.
Earlier today, Russia's navy conducted a live fire exercise in the northwest Black Sea, as announced by Moscow's Defense Ministry. This exercise comes shortly after the Kremlin's statement, indicating its consideration of ships traveling to Ukraine via the Black Sea as potential military targets.
During the training, the Black Sea Fleet engaged in the live firing of anti-ship cruise missiles at a target ship within the designated combat training range, successfully destroying the target.
Additionally, the exercise involved practicing the temporary closure of navigation areas and measures to detain any offending ships.
It is worth noting that the Kremlin has recently cautioned that attempting to move grain from Ukrainian Black Sea ports without Russian security assurances would be dangerous, accusing Kiev of exploiting the seas for military purposes.
The agreements underlying the contentious Black Sea Grain Deal have been "terminated", according to the Kremlin on July 17. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the country will return to the agreement as soon as all parties involved take the previously agreed-upon procedures.