UK Accuses Russia of Sabotaging Global Food Security with Ukrainian Port Attacks


Accusations have been leveled against Russia by the United Kingdom for launching a missile attack on a civilian cargo ship as it lay idle in the Ukrainian port of Odesa the previous month. The incident occurred on August 24 and was successfully neutralized by the air defenses of Ukraine, according to the UK foreign office.

The ship was sailing under the Liberian flag and fell prey to a missile attack initiated by a Russian carrier. In the month of July, Russia served a warning notice to the vessels making their way to Ukrainian ports via the Black Sea, cautioning them of possible military targeting.

This cautionary notice succeeded Moscow’s withdrawal from a seminal UN-endorsed grain agreement. The deal had ensured the smooth transportation of Ukrainian grain exports by civilian cargo ships via the Black Sea. During the withdrawal, President Vladimir Putin grumbled about the multitude of restrictions on Russia’s agricultural commodities.

Russia not only demanded the entry of a significant Russian bank to the global payments system but also called for the lifting of sanctions on Russian fertilizer firms. It demanded unrestricted access to insurance policies and foreign ports for its ships. Withdrawal from the agreement preceded a series of attacks on ports in Southern Ukraine, which contravened its commitment.

Addressing the parliament on Monday, the UK’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak condemned the botched attack on the grain ship, highlighting Putin’s desperation. Sunak maintained, “Ukraine has the right to export its goods through international waters and they have the moral right to ship grain that is helping feed the world,”.

Russia has maintained silence over the alleged attack. The Moscow administration, after pulling out of the grain deal, has progressively escalated its assault on Ukrainian port infrastructure. Accusations by Kyiv report the move as a calculated ploy by Russia to sabotage its grain exports, thereby creating a setback for global food security.

According to the Foreign Office, Russian withdrawal from the deal has culminated in the destruction of about 280,000 tonnes of grain. This has been interpreted as Russia’s attempt to weaponize innocent trade and food at a global cost. They have reportedly sabotaged 26 port infrastructures in Odesa and its neighboring ports, Chornomorsk and Reni, post-July.

A ranking official from Kenya’s foreign affairs ministry, Korir Sing’Oei, deemed Russia’s exit from the deal as a severe betrayal for countries reeling under drought. Putin has committed to offering free grain to six African nations, which have patronized Russia in international forums.

Contrary to this, as per the Foreign Office, the tally of grain ruins by Russian strikes has already overwhelmed Moscow’s vowed grain donation to African nations. This destruction could have theoretically fed a million people for a year.


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