Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya declared that the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) for the Black Sea Grain Initiative should not continue its work without Russian involvement at the UN Security Council in New York on Monday.
“We take the position that the “Black Sea [Grain] Initiative” signed between Russia, Turkey and Ukraine under the UN assurance on July 22 should not be implemented without us, and the decisions and measures taken without us do not bind us to anything,” Nebenzya told the council.
Nebenzya went on to explain that as Russia could not ensure the safety of its ships in the Black Sea, it could no longer allow the unhindered passage of vessels without inspection and would therefore be taking measures to control cargo ships let through by the JCC.
“The fact that the Black Sea remains a war zone, we cannot allow the unhindered passage of ships without our inspection and will be forced to take independent measures to control the dry cargoes let through by the Joint Coordination Centre without our agreement,” he said.
On Saturday, October 29, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Russia suspended the Black Sea Grain Initiative indefinitely due to an early morning drone attack on the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol.
Representatives of Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the United Nations signed two agreements – on sea shipments of Ukrainian grain and exports of Russian agricultural products – on July 22 in Istanbul.
Russia has repeatedly accused Ukraine of violating the terms of the ‘grain deal’. On September 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a meeting with permanent members of the Security Council that most of the grain cargoes shipped from Black Sea ports as part of the Istanbul deal were delivered to the EU, not to the poorest countries.
However, on September 8, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that ‘Ukraine supplies agricultural products to different continents.’