Despite his ongoing war with Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has continued to allow Kyiv to export grain through the Black Sea via the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which Putin has allowed to be extended previously. However, in remarks last week his patience with the deal appeared to be dwindling as he told journalists, “Probably, for the guys who are fighting, it’s not clear why we are letting the grain through. I understand.” As the July 17 expiration date for the current extension approaches though, Putin’s patience appears to have run out.
On Sunday, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Ukraine grain deal had “no chance” of being extended.
According to Peskov, Russia has “shown goodwill several times, made concessions” and has extended the grain deal in the past. The spokesman added that Moscow has still not received what it was promised in exchange for previously extending the grain deal.
“It’s hardly possible to predict some sort of a final decision here, but we can only state that – judging de facto by the status that we now have – this deal has no chance,” Peskov explained, according to state media.
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“The deal implies deeds; deeds on the part of the contracting states or organizations. And one part of this deal was done, and the second part, which related to [promises made to] Russia, was never done,” he added.
While the collapse of the UN/Turkey-brokered grain deal would impact tens of millions of people worldwide, the hardest hit regions would be those already struggling in North Africa and the Middle East. According to the UN, the Black Sea Grain Initiative is “critical” to continue to “stave off famine.”
Despite the UN’s concerns about the impact the end of the deal would have on the struggling regions of the world, Putin’s long-standing criticism of the grain initiative is that the grain being exported has not been sent to those regions, but rather to wealthier countries in Europe.
Europe has also been heavily affected by the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, which left the EU struggling to get enough LNG to avoid an energy crisis over the winter. Grain will be the next issue after July. The expiration of the grain initiative has left many observers questioning what problem Europe and the world will face next as the war appears to show no signs of ending.
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