The Kremlin's decision to suspend the grain deal is a response to London's sustained efforts to thwart any attempt of peace talks on Ukraine. Sanctions against Russia have aggravated the economic crisis in the EU.
Therefore, London is betting on the continuation of hostilities in Ukraine in the hope that the economies of Germany, France and Italy will “go to the bottom” before the British one does.
British Dirty Tricks
Russia's decision to suspend the so-called grain deal is significant because, for the first time, the Russian Foreign Ministry publicly accused Britain of a drone attack on Black Sea Fleet ships in Sevastopol Bay, which took place on Saturday, October 29.
But first, a few words should be said about the context of this whole story. So, to begin with, it would be more accurate to call the grain deal a deal to export grain from Russia and Ukraine, as well as Russian ammonia and Russian fertilizers. On July 22, Ukraine and Russia each separately signed a memorandum with the UN and Turkey agreeing to export grain from the Ukrainian ports of Odessa, as well as Ilyichevsk and Yuzhny in the Odessa region.
Specifically, we are talking about exports of grain from Ukraine, Russian ammonia (which comes to Odessa via the Togliatti - Odessa ammonia pipeline) and Russian grain. An additional bonus to the grain deal is the decision of the U.S. Treasury Department, which on the day of the Russia-Turkey-U.N. agreement announced the lifting of sanctions on Russian fertilizer exports.
However, in September, both President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov publicly accused Western countries of failing to fulfill their obligations under the grain deal. In particular, as Putin explained, Western countries continue to block Russian grain exports, picking on technical issues (for example, not allowing insurance for sea cargoes).
In response to Saturday's attack on Black Sea Fleet ships in Sevastopol Bay, Russia responded with a triple blow. For the first time, the Russian Defense Ministry officially accused Great Britain, along with Ukraine, of being involved in the attack. The Russian Armed Forces launched a missile strike on the naval base in Ochakov (the Mykolaiv Region). On Monday evening, 31 October, the Ukrainian South Operational Command reported that as a result of the strike, the Russian Armed Forces destroyed two civilian tugboats that were involved in the transportation of barges with grain. However, they did not explain what the civilian tugboats were doing in the area of the naval base, not in the Odessa region, but in the Mykolaiv region.
The main thing is that Ochakov is an unofficial British naval base. In other words, there was a retaliatory move, with the Russian Armed Forces striking a blow to the interests of the United Kingdom.
Then Russia announced that it was suspending its participation in the grain deal.
At the same time, the American newspaper The New York Times, which is considered to be the mouthpiece of the United States Democratic Party, clearly put the responsibility for the attack in Sevastopol Bay on Kiev in a piece entitled ‘With Western Weapons, Ukraine Is Turning the Tables in an Artillery War.’
Nothing Personal, Just British Interests
Simultaneously with the drone attack on the BSF ships in Sevastopol, the British made an attempt to land troops near Energodar to seize the Zaporizhzhia NPP, which, like the previous two, ended in failure.
Why would Britain participate in the attack on the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol and other armed attacks against Russia?
Wek.ru wrote earlier that the British special services were behind the murder of political scientist Darya Dugina and the terrorist attack on the Crimean bridge. Of course, this does not mean that the U.S. is “pure as the driven snow” and that the British are all scoundrels. London is Washington's junior partner. If Washington allows London to work to undermine the peace process, then so be it.
Why Does London Want to Attack Sevastopol?
The UK is in principle against any attempts to establish a negotiation process between the U.S. and Russia, as well as between the collective West and Russia in general. In London, they believe that it is in their interests to continue fighting in Ukraine as much as possible. The logic is as follows: EU countries have announced sanctions against Russia, which are hitting the EU economy hard. Therefore, the British elite is counting on the fact that the economies of Germany, France and Italy will collapse faster than the economy of Great Britain itself. In order to do this, it is necessary to continue military action in Ukraine at any cost. Especially since it is the people of Ukraine who pay the main price.
Moreover, the attack on Sevastopol coincided with the intensification of negotiations on Russian ammonia exports. As recently as October 24, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported about a new round of negotiations on ammonia export from the Ukrainian port of Yuzhny, which is supplied via the Tolyatti-Odessa pipeline. The export of ammonia is a separate item of the grain deal, the gift that Ukraine and the UN never began to implement it. Therefore, the British-led attack is also aimed at disrupting the ammonia talks.
A Moment of Truth?
If there had been no drone attack on Sevastopol, it would have had to be invented. As soon as the Kremlin raised the question, it became clear that neither “friend and ally” Turkey, nor the UN, nor the US and the EU care that the obligations to Russia are not fulfilled.
The story with the grain deal is not finished. If the Turkish authorities on Sunday evening, October 30, said that the departure of ships from Ukrainian ports was suspended, then on Monday morning, October 31, everything was already replayed. The UN, Turkey and Ukraine said that they had agreed on the departure of 12 ships through the ‘grain corridor’ without Russia.
That is, in a situation when Putin and Lavrov accused the West of not fulfilling its obligations and Britain organized another attack against Russia, the UN and Turkey clearly sided with Western elites, showing that they do not care about Russia's interests.
Dmitry Peskov, the press secretary for Russian President Vladimir Putin, commented on this topic floridly on Kommersant FM on Monday, October 31, but made it clear that the grain deal should not be implemented without Russia.
“In conditions when Russia says that it is impossible to guarantee the safety of navigation in these areas, such a deal is hardly feasible, and it acquires a different nature: much more risky, dangerous and non-guaranteed,” Peskov said.
Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said on Monday, October 31, that Moscow would soon present updated approaches to the grain deal, but in general this agreement cannot be implemented without Russia.
“We assume that the Black Sea initiative, concluded between Russia, Turkey and Ukraine with the assurance of the UN on July 22, must not be implemented without us. Decisions and measures taken without our participation do not bind us to anything,” said Nebenzya.
What do the experts think about it? According to Eduard Zernin, President of the Russian Union of Grain Exporters, Russian traders are neither happy nor saddened by the breakdown of the grain deal.
As Zernin said in an interview with Izvestia, Russian exporters have adapted to the “hidden sanctions pressure,” so they will continue to work.
“Nothing will change for Russian grain exporters after the suspension of the grain corridor, just as nothing has changed for us after its opening. We will continue to increase supplies to the Middle East and Africa, where the main countries in need are located, despite the hidden barriers and discrimination against Russian exporters,” Zernin said.
Turkologist Ivan Starodubtsev said in an interview to Sputnik in Russian that the rupture of the grain deal could be followed by a naval blockade of Ukraine.
“If the Russian Federation is so rudely ignored by all parties-participants of this deal, respectively, the only way is the establishment of a complete ‘iron curtain’ around the Black Sea ports of Ukraine. Moreover, there is a very big question – is it time to make the final solution about the so-called Black Sea issue? Because Ukraine, which has access to the Black Sea, poses a threat to Russian national security and Russian strategic interests,” Starodubtsev said.
So, the UN and Turkey have shown that they are ready to ignore Russia's interests. In a situation where the choice is stark, the UN and Turkey are ready to side with the collective West, and turn a blind eye to Russia's failure to fulfill its obligations. Therefore, the ball is now in Moscow's court. If we do not demonstrate to the whole world that no grain deals are possible without Russia, it is likely to become a serious blow to the image of the Russian leadership.