China Sides With West on Russia Abandoning Grain Deal

At UN, nations warn of food crisis unless shipments resume soon
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 21, 2023 4:20 PM CDT
At UN, China Joins Nations Pushing Russia on Grain Deal
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, United States ambassador to the United Nations, left, speaks with Sergiy Kyslytsya, permanent representative of Ukraine to the United Nations at the end of the UN Security Council meeting to discuss the maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine, Friday, July 21, 2023, at...   (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

Russia came under pressure in a UN Security Council meeting on Friday from its ally China and developing countries as well as Western nations to avert a global food crisis and quickly revive Ukrainian grain shipments. Moscow was criticized by the UN and council members for attacking Ukrainian ports after pulling out of the year-old grain deal on Monday and destroying port infrastructure—a violation of international humanitarian law prohibiting attacks on civilian infrastructure. In response to Russia declaring wide areas in the Black Sea dangerous for shipping, the UN warned that a military incident in the sea could have "catastrophic consequences," the AP reports.

Russia said it suspended the Black Sea Grain Initiative because the UN had failed to overcome obstacles to shipping its food and fertilizer to global markets, the other half of the Ukraine grain deal. The Kremlin said it would consider resuming Ukrainian shipments if progress is made in overcoming the obstacles, including in banking arrangements. China's deputy UN ambassador, Geng Shuang, noted UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' commitment to ensuring that both Ukrainian grain and Russian food and fertilizer get to world markets. He expressed hope that Russia and the UN will work together soon to resume exports from both countries in the interest of "maintaining international food security and alleviating the food crisis in developing countries in particular."

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused Russia of using the Black Sea as blackmail and playing political games, pointing to Moscow's export of more grain than ever before at higher prices. She called on the Security Council and all 193 UN member nations to urge Russia to resume negotiations in good faith, per the AP. Several developing countries warned of the impact of the cutoff in Ukrainian grain shipments, which has already led to a rise in wheat prices. Gabon's UN ambassador, Michel Biang, said the grain deal had avoided a spark in grain prices and calmed the risk of food insecurity in the drought-affected Horn of Africa and other regions.

(More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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