(CTN News) – After assaults on ships in Crimea, Russia has withdrawn from an UN-mediated agreement to export agricultural products from Ukrainian ports, the Russian defence ministry said on Saturday, laying a blow to a three-month accord meant to relieve a worldwide shortage of grain supplies.
In the early hours of Saturday, according to Russia, Ukrainian troops targeted Black Sea Fleet ships in Sevastopol, the largest city in Russian-occupied Crimea, using drones.
The ministry said in a statement that the Russian side suspended participation in implementing agreements on exporting agricultural products from Ukrainian ports.
“Taking into account… the terrorist act by the Kyiv regime with the participation of British experts against the ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civilian vessels involved in ensuring the security of the ‘grain corridor’,” it added.
According to the ministry, the drone strikes on Saturday were mostly repulsed, with just minor damage to a Russian minesweeper.
After explosions on the Crimean peninsula on Saturday, Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff to the Ukrainian president, said that Russia had “blackmailed” and “manufactured terror incidents” on its own soil.
UN urges deal extension.
His spokesperson, Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, called on “all parties” to “make every effort” to prolong the agreement on Ukrainian grain exports. This includes expediting shipments of Russian grain.
Over nine million tonnes of Ukrainian grain might be exported thanks to the agreement signed in July by the UN, Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey.
Dmitry Patrushev, the minister of agriculture for Russia, said on Saturday that his country was prepared to replace Ukrainian grain supplies by giving away up to 500,000 tonnes of grain to underdeveloped nations over the course of the next four months with support from Turkey.
Considering this year’s crop, the Russian Federation is fully equipped to replace Ukrainian grain and send supplies to all interested nations at reasonable rates.
‘UK navy’ behind pipelines damage
According to the Russian defence ministry, British naval soldiers blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines last month. London dismissed this assertion as baseless and an attempt to deflect attention from Russian military shortcomings in Ukraine.
Despite being mostly repulsed and only causing minor damage to a Russian minesweeper, the Russian ministry claimed that “British professionals” from the same unit coordinated Ukrainian drone strikes against Russian Black Sea fleet ships in Crimea.
According to the ministry, the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines were blown up on September 26.
“According to information available, representatives of this unit of the British Navy took part in the planning, provision, and implementation of a terrorist attack in the Baltic Sea,” it said.
Additionally, Russia said that the rapid placement of upgraded US B61 tactical nuclear weapons on NATO facilities in Europe would decrease the “nuclear threshold” and that it would consider this while preparing its military.