US President Joe Biden called Russia’s decision to suspend its participation in the cereal exports agreement from Ukrainian ports, vital for the world’s food supply.
“It’s just outrageous. There was no reason for them to do that,” Biden said.
Russia announced the suspension of its participation in the agreement on cereal exports from Ukrainian ports after an alleged drone attack which targeted the Russian fleet stationed in Sevastopol Bay in the annexed Crimea.
The UN said it was making efforts to preserve the agreement, with Ukraine accusing Russia of the “false pretext” of the attack in Crimea to justify the suspension of the agreement, pressuring Moscow to “respect its obligations”.
The agreement, concluded in July under the aegis of the UN and Turkey, allowed the export of several million tons of cereals held up in Ukrainian ports since the Russian invasion in February, which has sent food prices soaring, raising fears of famine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin escalated his criticism of the agreement, pointing out that exports from Russia, another major cereal producer, were being harmed by the sanctions.
Crimea, annexed in March 2014 by Russia after an intervention by its special forces and a referendum denounced by Kiev and the West, serves as the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and a logistical rear base for the Russian offensive in Ukraine.