ANI Photo | France condemns Russia’s decision to suspend participation in Black Sea grain initiative, calls for reversal of decision

France has condemned Russia’s decision to suspend its participation in the Black Sea grain initiative. French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs spokesperson said Russia is responsible for blocking navigation in the maritime area and is imposing a blockade on Ukrainian ports.
France called on Russia to stop its “blackmail” on global food security and asked for a reversal of the decision. France’s statement comes after Russia announced its decision to withdraw from the Black Sea grain initiative brokered by United Nations and Turkey. 
In the statement, French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson said France and its partners together will continue to step up their action to reduce the food security risks that will be hanging over the most vulnerable people across the world, including through the European Union’s Solidarity Lanes which players a crucial role and has enabled the export of 38 million tonnes of grain from Ukraine since March 2022. 
“France condemns Russia’s suspension of its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Russia alone is responsible for blocking navigation in that maritime area and is imposing an illegal blockade on Ukrainian ports. It must stop its blackmail on global food security and reverse its decision,” French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson said in the statement. 
In the statement, France has also increased its international food aid to over €840 million for 2023 to help people suffering from food insecurity and malnutrition due to Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine. 
Earlier on Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that “everything” must be done to ensure his country can use the Black Sea to export grain, CNN reported.
According to the Ukrainian President spokesperson Sergiy Nykyforov, Zelenskyy said, “Even without Russia, we must do everything possible so that we can use this Black Sea corridor.” Zelenskyy further said that Ukraine could continue exporting grain without the support of Russia.
Zelenskyy said, “We are not afraid. We have been approached by companies which own vessels.” He further said, “They said they are ready to continue grain deliveries if Ukraine ships out and Turkey lets them through,” according to CNN.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “I have instructed our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after the official signal from the Russian Federation, to prepare our official signals to the United Nations and to Turkey so that they can answer back to me as to the President of Ukraine that they are ready to continue our initiative.”
Russia on Monday announced it was suspending its participation in a UN-brokered deal that allowed the export of Ukrainian grain. The agreement, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July 2022, was scheduled to expire at 5 pm ET on Monday.
On Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov announced Moscow will not renew the agreement, saying it “has been terminated.” The deal had allowed Ukraine to export grain by sea, as per the CNN report.
In withdrawing from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that its government was removing guarantees for safe navigation in the Black Sea, according to CNN.
Russian Foreign Ministry in the statement said, “This means the withdrawal of guarantees for the safety of navigation, the curtailment of the maritime humanitarian corridor, the restoration of the regime of a temporarily dangerous area in the northwestern Black Sea and the disbandment of the JCC [Joint Coordination Center] in Istanbul. Without Russia’s participation, the Black Sea initiative ceases to function from July 18.” 
It further said that the Russian government objects to the further extension of the agreement and informed the Turkish and Ukrainian sides on Monday. Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow had also informed the UN secretariat. The ministry said that the Russia-UN Memorandum did not work as planned.

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