Security Council urges Russia to stop ‘hunger games’, resume grain deal

Following Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea agreement, United Nations representatives called on the Russian government to allow the export of Ukraine’s grain.

The deal expired on Monday after Russia quit and warned it could not guarantee the safety of ships in a move the United Nations said would “strike a blow to people in need everywhere.”

“Today (Monday) through Russian embassies in Ankara, Minsk, and London, as well as the consulate general in Istanbul, we circulated official notes about a decision made by the Russian government to end the Black Sea initiative as of 18th July 2023,” said Russia’s Deputy Ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy.

Foreign ministers from Poland, Germany, and Ukraine were among those gathered in the Security Council urging the continuation of the deal.

“I therefore call, like others, on Russia, to stop using hunger as a weapon. Stop abducting children. Stop your illegal war on Ukraine in the name of humanity,” said Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

Moscow suggested that if demands to improve exports of its own grain and fertilizer were met it would consider resurrecting the Black Sea agreement.

However, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that a U.N. pact that aimed to help facilitate Russia’s shipments over the past year was also terminated.

The Black Sea deal was brokered by the U.N. and Turkey in July last year to combat a global food crisis worsened by Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine and Russia are among the world’s top grain exporters.