US Urges Moscow to Return to Grain Deal – Blinken

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U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken
U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken

The United States is calling on Russia to resume its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

On Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Russia was suspending its participation in the grain deal following Ukraine’s drone attack targeting vessels of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol.

“The United States regrets Russia’s suspension of its participation in the operations of the U.N.-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative. We urge all parties to keep this essential, life-saving Initiative functioning,” Blinken said in a Saturday statement.

According to Blinken, the grain deal has allowed to move over 9 million metric tons of food and “brought prices down around the world.”

The US secretary of state accused Russia of “weaponizing food” and claimed that the Istanbul grain initiative “has been a success and must continue.”

“We urge the Government of Russia to resume its participation in the Initiative, fully comply with the arrangement, and work to ensure that people around the world continue to be able to receive the benefits facilitated by the Initiative,” Blinken said on Saturday.

Ismini Palla, a UN spokesperson for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, said in a Saturday statement that Russia had informed the UN coordinator at the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul (JCC), which controls the transportation of Ukrainian grain, about its concerns regarding the safety of civilian ships traveling under the grain initiative.

According to Palla, the JCC was unable to reach an agreement on the movement of inbound and outbound vessels on Sunday, October 30.

Russian deputy envoy to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy said on Saturday that Russia had requested a United Nations Security Council meeting on Monday to discuss Ukraine’s drone attack on ships and infrastructure of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol that pushed Moscow to suspend its participation in the grain deal.

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