Polish FM condemns Russia's quitting Black Sea grain deal
Poland's foreign minister has called Russia's decision to halt the Black Sea grain initiative "an act of economic aggression."
Zbigniew Rau made the statement at a press briefing following a ministerial event marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the International Criminal Court held in New York on Monday.
Earlier on Monday, Russia said it had decided to cease participation in the Black Sea Initiative, brokered by the UN and Turkey last year to ensure the safe export of Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea.
"Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative is nothing more than an act of economic aggression against the countries of the Global South, which are most dependent on the Ukrainian grain," Rau told reporters at the UN headquarters.
He added that Russia having presented itself as an advocate of the countries of the South "exposed its hypocrisy" with its actions.
"In this situation, only the other parties to the grain agreement should be asked to persevere in their commitments, to continue these commitments for the common good, for the good of the international community, but above all for the good of all the countries whose existence depends on it (the deal - PAP)," Rau said.
He added that appeals should be made for the agreement to be kept even without Russia's participation, and for food supply channels to be continued.
Ukraine is a major global exporter of grain and the deal, which lasted almost one year, was meant to help poor countries, especially in Africa, to continue to receive basic foods from Ukraine, notably wheat. Due to its possibility to ship high volumes of produce, the Black Sea route is the most viable one for international trade, while the alternative channels the EU has opened for Ukraine, including through Poland, have limited capacity due to infrastructure constraints.
Additionally, these land routes have sparked protests among farmers in the transit countries, who complain that vast amounts of Ukrainian produce have ended up flooding local markets and depressing prices, which led to EU restrictions on the sale of Ukrainian goods on those markets.