Crisis Averted As Russia Agrees To Resume Grain Deal

A looming threat to increase the intensity of the global food shortage passed when Russia announced on Wednesday its decision to resume the effort to free up grain exports from Ukraine.

The sharp reversal came days after Turkey and the United Nations worked to keep Ukrainian grain flowing out of the country to parts of the world in desperate need. Russian officials claimed that Kyiv guaranteed that they would not use the Black Sea grain corridor for military operations.

Written guarantees were reportedly received by Moscow promising to avoid military operations in the area. The Ukrainian government had previously denied that it used the corridor for attacks.

The Russian Defense Ministry suspended the deal for grain exports over the weekend, which posed a serious risk of enhancing food shortages. Russia and Ukraine combine to supply as much as 30% of the world’s grain supply.

That supply, however, has been both disrupted and under nearly constant threat since the February invasion.

The grain deal which was reached three months ago restarted essential shipments from the “breadbasket” countries to impoverished regions under threat of famine. It lifted what was a virtual blockade on Ukrainian exports.

Prices had already begun to rise after the Kremlin’s announcement last weekend, and fears intensified of another global shortage and the threat of civil unrest.

The invaders announced on Saturday that they could not guarantee safe passage for civilian vessels in the Black Sea after they reported an attack on their ships. Both Ukrainian and Western officials denounced the claim, calling it “blackmail” to threaten food exports.

The shipments, however, continued. Monday’s resumption under the supervision of Turkish and United Nations authorities led to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informing his counterpart in Istanbul that the country would resume the deal.

Global markets on Wednesday saw an immediate decline in wheat, soybean, and corn prices.

Experts caution that the deal remains uncertain as it is set to expire on Nov. 19. Many believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin will use its renewal as leverage in the coming G20 summit in Indonesia.

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