Crimea bridge
A view shows the section of a road split and sloping to one side following an alleged attack on the Crimea Bridge, that connects the Russian mainland with the Crimean peninsula across the Kerch Strait, in this still image taken from video released July 17, 2023. Image Credit: Reuters

In a stunning move that can impact the global food industry, Russia has halted its participation in a crucial grain deal with Ukraine. The UN-brokered agreement allowed Ukraine to export grain through the Black Sea, providing a lifeline to countries.

The dramatic decision came just hours after a mysterious blast rocked Russia’s bridge to Crimea. Moscow attributed the attack to Ukrainian sea drones. According to Russia, this was a terrorist strike targeting a vital road bridge. Two civilians lost their lives, while another was injured in the incident.

Per Kremlin the attack on the bridge and the suspension of the grain deal are unrelated. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov emphasised that the grain agreement had not been fully implemented, necessitating its termination.

Read more

The landmark deal, brokered by the UN and Turkey last year, aimed to alleviate food shortages and stabilise prices in the wake of Russia-Ukraine war. It had been extended several times, but Russia staunchly refused to grant any further extensions, citing its reasons.

Under the agreement, Ukraine successfully exported over 32 million metric tonnes of corn, wheat, and other grains. These shipments played a crucial role in meeting the demand of nations worldwide, including China, Turkey, Italy, and Spain.

Egypt and Yemen were among the recipients as well, ensuring a steady supply of grain to regions already struggling with food scarcity.

Now, with Russia’s participation halted, fears of a global food crisis loom large. Any reduction in the supply of grain would have far-reaching consequences, causing prices to skyrocket and exacerbating the challenges faced by countries already grappling with food and living costs.