Turkey Vows to Keep Ukraine Grain Moving After Russia Suspends Deal

Twelve ships carrying grain left Ukraine's ports on Monday despite Russia's suspension of deal

Turkey on Monday said it was committed to ensuring grain will keep shipping out of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports despite Moscow saying it would suspend its participation in the export deal.

“Even if Russia behaves hesitantly because it didn’t receive the same benefits, we will continue decisively our efforts to serve humanity,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, according to Al Jazeera.

The grain deal was brokered by the UN and Turkey and is overseen at a coordination center in Istanbul. Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, on Monday and said Moscow should rejoin the agreement.

Moscow said over the weekend that it was suspending the grain deal in response to a drone attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, Crimea. Russia’s Defense Ministry said that the drones launched the attack after traveling through safe corridors that were established under the deal for the shipment of grain.

Ukraine and the US have been quiet about the drone attack. Ukrainian officials haven’t taken responsibility, and a Pentagon official only acknowledged that there were explosions near Russian vessels in Sevastopol.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that Moscow was only suspending its participation in the grain deal, not ending it altogether. “We are not saying that we are ceasing our participation in this operation. No, we are saying that we are suspending it,” he said.

Ships packed with grain still left Ukraine on Monday despite Russia’s suspension of the deal. According to Ukrainian officials, 12 ships departed Ukraine carrying a total of 354,500 tonnes of grain, the most shipped in a single day since the deal was signed in July.

Russia said Monday that it can’t guarantee security for the ships departing Ukraine while it’s not participating in the deal. “Under the current conditions, there can be no question of guaranteeing the security of any object in the indicated direction until the Ukrainian side accepts additional obligations not to use this route for military purposes,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.