Putin suspends grain deal

Russia has suspended the agreement for exports of Ukrainian grain negotiated in July. Moscow cited alleged Ukrainian drone attacks on the Black Sea fleet as the reason for the decision. A number of cargo ships are said to be heading towards Istanbul via the protected corridor without any certainty that Russia will let them pass. What should the next move be?

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Radio Kommersant FM (RU) /

Russia should not turn away

It is Russia's duty to honour the deal, Radio Kommersant FM stresses:

“Cargo ships continue to transport food across the Black Sea, which means that the deal is still functioning to some extent. However, if something happens en route or something explodes in Odessa, there could be complications with partner Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He has expressed his firm intention of clearing and dispatching the freighters despite the hesitation of the Russian Federation. However, if Russia is not a party to the agreement, it can't guarantee that there won't be any incidents. Which is why there should be no accusations against Russia if there are. But that's just in theory; in practice things may be different. There could well be accusations against Moscow.”

republica.ro (RO) /

There are alternatives

If necessary, grain can be exported via other routes, says agricultural advisor Cezar Gheorghe on republica.ro:

“Should Russia re-establish a blockade off the coast of Odessa, Ukraine will have options for circumventing this impasse: namely the transport routes created via Romania, Poland and Hungary. There are also routes for inland vessels via the Danube. And railways and land routes are also available. With a little more openness and commitment, including the opening of more border crossings, Ukraine will be able to continue exporting its goods. It may be difficult, but it is possible. The EU and its Anglo-Saxon allies will offer Ukraine all the help it needs. Under no circumstances will they give in to Russia's blackmail.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Make Moscow an offer

There is no alternative to negotiating with Putin, the taz observes:

“At this point any talks with Moscow are considered a betrayal. But that is cynical, because the ones who would suffer if the talks are completely broken off are the poorest of the poor in this world - people who have nothing to do with the war in Ukraine. So those in the US and Europe who want the grain deliveries to continue must not just cry 'blackmail' but make Putin an offer, however painful it may be.”

Aargauer Zeitung (CH) /

Deals with this man can't be relied on

By withdrawing from the grain deal the Kremlin is above all hurting its own interests, writes the Aargauer Zeitung:

“Ukraine no doubt anticipated this reaction: with this move the Kremlin leader is further isolating himself internationally. And this at a moment when Russia's erstwhile allies, like China and India, are gradually distancing themselves. Zelensky's staff realised that one of the few options left to Putin was to revoke the grain deal, which the Kremlin propagandists always viewed as absurd. And so they provoked the warmonger to take precisely this step. ... If at the first opportunity he abuses the grain deal to apply pressure, it shows very clearly that no deal can be made with this man.”