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Russia Ends Black Sea Grain Deal, Declares All Ukraine-Bound Ships as ‘Military Targets’

Russia Ends Black Sea Grain Deal, Declares All Ukraine-Bound Ships as ‘Military Targets’

The suspension of the Black Sea shipment deal threatens global grain and food supply.

Days after Ukraine attacked the strategic Crimea bridge, Russia has declared all Ukraine-bound ships as potential “military targets,” news reports indicate. “Russia warned that from Thursday any ships sailing to Ukraine’s Black Sea ports would be seen as potentially carrying military cargoes,” Reuters reported Wednesday. The move could draw the U.S., and European NATO member states into a direct conflict with Russia as they continue to supply Ukraine with military and humanitarian aid.

Following Monday’s Ukrainian drone strike on the bridge connecting the occupied Crimean peninsula to mainland Russia, Moscow also ended the deal, which allowed Ukraine’s grain shipments to pass through the Black Sea.

Russia quits Black Sea shipping deal, hits Ukrainian gain depots

The suspension of the Black Sea shipment deal threatens the global grain and food supply. Ukraine is the world’s top producer of sunflower seed and among the leading exporters of wheat, rapeseed, barley, vegetable oil, and maize.  “Pre-war, Ukraine was one of the world’s largest grain exporters, supplying about 10 percent of the trade in wheat, about 15 percent of the corn market, and more than 40 percent of the sunflower oil market. Ukrainian farms fed 400 million people worldwide, according to the UN World Food Program,” the Ukrainian newspaper Kyiv Post noted.

The Black Sea export corridor — as the United Nations-brokered deal was known, allowed the export of estimated 32 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain over the last year, news reports suggest.

The agreement was a humanitarian lifeline for many struggling third-world countries in Asia and Africa. The “UN says that under the grain deal, Ukraine has shipped 625,000 tonnes of food as humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen,” BBC reported. “In 2022, more than half of the grain bought by the UN’s World Food Programme came from Ukraine.”

The Russian exit from the grain deal was accompanied by massive aerial strikes on gain depots in the Ukrainian port city of Odesa. “Since leaving the Black Sea Grain Deal this week, Russia has already struck Ukraine’s grain export ports in Odesa with missile and drone attacks. Some 60,000 tons of grain were destroyed in the attacks,” The Associated Press reported.

Russian sea mines threaten civilian ships, U.S. fears

The Russian military is laying sea mines and preparing to broaden its assault on Ukrainian civilian shipping, the White House fears. “Russia yesterday declared hunting season open on commercial trawlers – and potentially civilian ships – on the Black Sea,” the newspaper Kyiv Post reported Thursday.

This naval offensive could drag the U.S. and NATO countries into a hot war with Russia as they continue to ship military and humanitarian aid to beleaguered Ukraine.

The UK-based Sky News reported Thursday:

The US has claimed Russian forces have laid sea mines in the Black Sea and are preparing for possible attacks on civilian ships in the region.

It follows Moscow’s withdrawal from a deal to allow the safe export of grain and its warning earlier that all ships heading to Ukraine would now be seen as potential carriers of military equipment.

White House National Security Council spokesman Adam Hodge told reporters: “Our information indicates that Russia laid additional sea mines in the approaches to Ukrainian ports.

“We believe that this is a coordinated effort to justify any attacks against civilian ships in the Black Sea and lay blame on Ukraine for these attacks.”

Russia demands sanctions relief for restoring grain deal

Cut off from the lucrative Western markets, Russia wants concessions in exchange for returning to the deal. Germany’s state-run DW TV reported Russian conditions:

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow would “consider” returning to the Ukraine grain deal if its demands were “fully” met, saying the agreement had “lost all meaning.”

It was the first time the Russian leader commented since Moscow this week exited the landmark deal, which allowed the safe passage of cargo ships from Black Sea ports.

“The continuation of the grain deal in its current form has lost all meaning,” Putin said at a government meeting.

“Of course we will consider the possibility of returning to it — but only under one condition: if all principles under which Russia agreed to participate in the deal are fully taken into account and fulfilled,” he added.

The Russia president named the “withdrawal of sanctions on supplies of Russian grain and fertilizers to world markets” as one of the main conditions.


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thad_the_man | July 20, 2023 at 1:07 pm

Gee who would have thought that Russia would not hold to it’s part of a treaty because we don’t hold up to our part?

    Dathurtz in reply to thad_the_man. | July 20, 2023 at 1:21 pm

    It was entirely unpredictable!

    CommoChief in reply to thad_the_man. | July 20, 2023 at 1:45 pm

    Another example, perhaps the clearest yet in this sad saga, of the West directly or via proxy choosing to escalate and provoke Russia then feigning outrage at the Russia reaction. Every attempt to manipulate and pressure Russia via PR has been ineffective b/c the Russians understand the game being played and refuse to participate in Calvin ball.

      Because our side is still playing by those “new rules” written by the Progressives after WW2, that said we all play nice and nobody (except some cannon fodder) gets hurt. And, once again, Progressives ignore entirely the concept of “human nature” and that some people really aren’t like you.

      Russia still believes in war – real war – as an instrument of foreign policy. And they practice it.

      Jeff Cox in reply to CommoChief. | July 20, 2023 at 3:22 pm

      And nothing “provokes” Russia more than having an independent nation-state on its border that refuses to be controlled, starved, and/or enslaved by Russia.

        CommoChief in reply to Jeff Cox. | July 20, 2023 at 6:00 pm

        Please tell us when the post Soviet era Russian invasion of Finland began. The Finns seem pretty damn obstinate about the idea of retaining their independence.

          txvet2 in reply to CommoChief. | July 20, 2023 at 6:07 pm

          I don’t think Putin quite has the confidence to attack NATO directly, at least not just yet. After the Chinese invasion of Taiwan distracts the US, then the Baltic states will have a problem.

          CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | July 20, 2023 at 7:47 pm


          Finland didn’t join NATO until April of this year.

          How about Georgia?

          Jeff Cox in reply to CommoChief. | July 20, 2023 at 8:54 pm

          Google the word “Finlandization”, brainiac, and get back to me.

          txvet2 in reply to CommoChief. | July 20, 2023 at 10:31 pm

          I know. Your comment didn’t include a time frame. Besides, Finland isn’t the only NATO member bordering on Russia.

          CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | July 21, 2023 at 7:56 am


          Finlandization was a Soviet era phenomenon. I specifically asked about post Soviet era actions, which you either overlooked or ignored.

          Nice try at deflection but no points awarded.

          CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | July 21, 2023 at 7:58 am


          Georgia isn’t a member of NATO either. It’s an ‘affiliate’ but not a member.

          CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | July 21, 2023 at 8:09 am


          Russia doesn’t have the manpower to take on NATO in a direct military confrontation. IMO, they don’t need or want to do so at present unless NATO does something so outrageous they can’t ignore it.

          This whole idea of Russia as the boogeyman instead of China is, IMO, a deliberate choice of our neocon, globalist establishment to select an other we and the West could defeat.

          In addition China makes or supplies so many of the end products or precursor chemicals and rare earth minerals as to create a Western dependency. Much easier and less painful for the USA to to confront Russia, less so for Europe which needs cheap energy, than to confront China. Plus confrontation with China would wreck the substantial investments of the west in China, can’t be having the wealthy elites $ at risk.

    MattMusson in reply to thad_the_man. | July 20, 2023 at 2:30 pm

    Actually Russia did hold up its side of the bargain. The original pact expired and the Russians publicly stated if there was an attack on Kirsk Bridge they would not renew the pact.

    Regardless, Ukraine was the 4th largest grain exporter on the planet before the war. Now, their silos are already full and the new harvest is weeks away. Now, the port facilities are being destroyed and if the war ended today, it would be 5-10 years before Ukraine could return to being a major play.

    Meanwhile, the Middle East will come undone as grain prices triple and people starve. (During the Arab Spring grain prices only doubled.)

      Jeff Cox in reply to MattMusson. | July 20, 2023 at 3:17 pm

      How dare Ukraine attack the Kerch (not “Kirsk”) Bridge! It’s not like Ukraine is fighting for its life against an enemy who sends most of the supplies for its troops in occupied Crimea over the Kerch Bridge! Oh, wait …

      geronl in reply to MattMusson. | July 20, 2023 at 4:35 pm

      They said it would not be renewed BEFORE the bridge attack

        CommoChief in reply to geronl. | July 20, 2023 at 6:12 pm

        Meh, if folks gonna claim ‘Russia is gonna create hardship and famine’ b/c the agreement wasn’t renewed they need to answer questions:
        1. If grain/food experts are so important then why not allow Russia to export their grain and food crops as well?
        2. Why not restrain their pawn from attacking infrastructure (again) that Russia said would carry consequences such as refusing to renew the (one sided) black sea agreement and export infrastructure in/around Odessa?

        Then there’s the issue of sea mines being emplaced by both sides. It’s equally a bad thing. Lets try easing up on the hypocrisy throttle as well as the arrogance towards Russia and see how that works diplomatically. Can’t hurt to try new things to end the conflict.

          GravityOpera in reply to CommoChief. | July 20, 2023 at 10:17 pm

          The Kerch Bridge is a legitimate military target. Accepting a “deal” of “don’t resist or we’ll commit war crimes” is a terrible idea for this war and for future precedent. The only correct response is to send grain ships flagged from NATO countries with the message that touching even one of them results in the entire Russian navy being sunk. Standing up to bullies is the only way for civilization to win.

          If the Kerch Bridge had been destroyed within a few weeks of the invasion then the war would be far closer to being over now, but Biden and other Western “leaders” *still* don’t have the courage to let Ukraine defend itself properly.

          CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | July 21, 2023 at 8:18 am

          Your opinion about the legitimacy of infrastructure as a military target doesn’t address the central issue; the hypocrisy of those who want to use hardship /famine framing it as Russia’s fault but ignoring the Russian condition for renewal of the agreement allowing Ukrainian grain shipments; reciprocity for Russian shipments.

          Reciprocity seems a fair condition to me.

So, whoever is running the Ukranian Shit Show doesn’t have a clue when it comes to Russia responding to being attacked. Russia will respond and it will be hard and fast.

Real good job The Diplomatic efforts of this incompetent pedophile Administration are having

    Jeff Cox in reply to Ironclaw. | July 20, 2023 at 3:20 pm

    Biden might be an idiot, but he did not negotiate the grain deal. Turkey did. And Turkey just told Putin to shove it, which is the real reason Putin cancelled the grain deal.

      CommoChief in reply to Jeff Cox. | July 21, 2023 at 11:02 am

      No doubt assisted and incentivized by the recent Biden Admin approval of the sale of F16 to Turkey.
      Russia didn’t cancel anything, that’s factually wrong.

      The deadline for renewal was approaching and Russia asked for reciprocal protection of vessels carrying Russian exports including grain. The request for reciprocity was denied and that coupled with the attack on infrastructure in Crimea (again) seems to have led Russia to refuse to renew the agreement beyond its original expiration date.

      Good faith and fair dealing are requirements for reaching a mutually acceptable agreement and it doesn’t appear as if the West was interested in providing those in this case. Decisions have consequences and the consequences here, IMO, potential for interrupted grain shipments, increased grain prices and food shortages in Africa, Central Asia are the result of the bad faith negotiations by the West.

chrisboltssr | July 20, 2023 at 1:39 pm

Remember qhen the foreign policy idiots assured us the sanctions against Russia would force them to stop their war against Ukraine? Oh, good times those were.

And just wait when China opens up their front in Taiwan and Iran launches an offensive against Israel…

    Jeff Cox in reply to chrisboltssr. | July 20, 2023 at 3:27 pm

    You do realize that sanctions, as imperfect a solution as they are, take a long time to bite. Russia is struggling with logistics (can’t repair or replace lost trucks and rail cars), artillery (can’t maintain or replace artillery tubes) and precision munitions (running low in guided missiles, which is why they had to carpet bomb Odesa).

      thad_the_man in reply to Jeff Cox. | July 20, 2023 at 3:48 pm

      Yeah it was only six months ago that Russia ran out of missiles.

      chrisboltssr in reply to Jeff Cox. | July 20, 2023 at 5:03 pm

      Sanctions taking a long time to bite wasn’t what was communicated and even still it doesn’t disprove what I was mocking above: The sanctions have not substantially harmed Russia in any way, shape or form.

        Dathurtz in reply to chrisboltssr. | July 20, 2023 at 5:57 pm

        They’ve sure taken a bite out of the western world, though.

          CommoChief in reply to Dathurtz. | July 20, 2023 at 7:57 pm

          B/C the sanctions revealed the difference in the economies of Russia and the west. They ain’t as dependent upon the west as the West is on them.

          Then the huge error in seizing Russian reserves held abroad and using western dominated institutions to kick them off SWIFT .All that did was cause every non western Nation to wonder ‘are we gonna be targeted next’? Then they began selling $ reserves and increasing physical gold reserves. Even Western Nations began bringing reserves held in London or NYC back to their own Nations.

          Many people have not yet discovered how badly botched this fiasco has been or what the secondary and tertiary impacts are likely to be. They are caught up in neocon, globalist propaganda seeking to monitatize yet another proxy way of distraction from our serious domestic problems.

        Jeff Cox in reply to chrisboltssr. | July 20, 2023 at 8:59 pm

        They have. You’re just not paying attention. Either that, or you’re a PutinBoo. Or both. Tell me, what major territory has Russia captured lately? Bakhmut? It cost Russia 6 months and catastrophic casualties to capture Bakhmut, which has no strategic significance, and Russia is about to lose it again.

          chrisboltssr in reply to Jeff Cox. | July 21, 2023 at 12:46 am

          They have not. The point of the sanctions was to force Russia to give up their war effort and that has not happened. So don’t try to insult anyone’s intelligence here. Also, the sanctions have no impact on how Russia is performing in the war and there is more to war than just holding territory. What good is holding territory that has been utterly decimated? Ukraine has been turned into a complete mess because idiots like you think you know better. And I don’t give a fuck about the Russians or the Ukrainians and, frankly, neither do you. What I care about is the impact of this sorry war on the United States where we are in a weakened position having Ukraine act as our proxy because we are too cowardly to fight Russia proper. So stop trying to be cheeky. The sanctions ain’t doing a damned thing and the reason you know they’re not working is because no one in the administration is talking about them.

          CommoChief in reply to Jeff Cox. | July 21, 2023 at 11:08 am

          The Ukrainian offensive has stalled out after recapture of roughly 40 square miles of territory, which is a drop in the bucket. Conservative estimates of the NATO provided equipment losses have been reported as 15-20% of the Infantry fighting vehicles and 10-20% of the tanks. Along with substantial troop losses, which is unsurprising given the Ukrainians are assaulting well prepared defensive positions and lack substantial mine clearing capabilities.

Hmmm, where have I seen this before? Neutral countries sending stuff to an engaged country on ships after that has been declared an act of war? Hmmm, I seem to recall the name Lusitania associated with it….

    alaskabob in reply to GWB. | July 20, 2023 at 2:03 pm

    And the Germans were correct. Lusitania was carrying war material.

      Mauiobserver in reply to alaskabob. | July 20, 2023 at 3:49 pm

      Which is about the time that Progressive Woodrow Wilson and the war hawks passed the Espionage Act to criminalize any criticism of the draft and American participation in the senseless World War I.

      It was designed and used to attack political opposition to the war, shutting down a few publications intimidating others.

I’m frankly amazed that it took the Russians so long to impose this most basic of economic warfare measures… the blockade.

I always wondered what trade-off was offered by the West/EU/UN/? for Putin to allow the exports to continue. It would be interesting to see who made major buys in wheat/barley/corn futures lately.

Marine Insurance for ships operating in the area is going to skyrocket. Expect shipping to and from Ukraine to be massively reduced.

    Lucifer Morningstar in reply to MattMusson. | July 20, 2023 at 3:52 pm

    I would suspect that Marine insurance for cargo ships operating in the area is going to become c0mpletely unavailable now that Russia has allegedly declared all civilian shipping fair game. Because really, why would any business underwriting marine insurance policies want to take the chance on losing bigtime money insuring ships that are going to be traversing the Black Sea no matter what premiums they might charge.

      chrisboltssr in reply to Lucifer Morningstar. | July 20, 2023 at 5:08 pm

      I don’t know why you got a downvote for stating the obvious: Trying to operate in a war zone will be a potentially high-risk/low-reward proposition for ships sailing into the area. And they would be doing it with almost no coverage from insurers since insurers almost always excludes coverage for damage due to acts of war. I say almost always because there might be the odd chance an insurer would be willing to provide wartime coverage bit I’m pretty sure the shipping company will pay a hefty price for such coverage.

    chrisboltssr in reply to MattMusson. | July 20, 2023 at 5:04 pm

    Almost every insurance policy specifically excludes coverage for any act due to war or terrorism. Any ship that knowingly sails into a war zone and gets destroyed will more than likely have its claim denied.

When I was little I used to play an arcade vending machine with a robotic claw where you would put in a quarter and manipulate the controls to, hopefully, drop it down over a toy and pick it up. I never won anything.

The war in Ukraine is a lot like that. We can’t just reach in and fight Russia outselves, so we’re attempting to manipulate Ukraine from a distance in order to make them win. It ain’t gonna work either.

    GWB in reply to Peabody. | July 20, 2023 at 2:50 pm

    Interesting analogy. And it coincides with my views on our foreign policy “experts” and their outlook on things.

    chrisboltssr in reply to Peabody. | July 20, 2023 at 5:08 pm

    It’s a proxy war and Ukrainians are being sacrificed in a war we refuse to fight ourselves.

      It’s only a proxy war on one side, though. Russia is fighting for its interests in Ukraine (as Putin perceives them). It seems the rest of Europe and the US are the only ones with a proxy.

        GravityOpera in reply to GWB. | July 20, 2023 at 10:22 pm

        You forgot Belarus and Iran and North Korea.

          CommoChief in reply to GravityOpera. | July 21, 2023 at 11:14 am

          And just like the neocon globalist you left out China. Can’t risk offending China and jeopardize $ trillions of western investment plus China is much tougher nut to crack.

    GravityOpera in reply to Peabody. | July 20, 2023 at 10:29 pm

    If the goal was for Ukraine to win they would have ATACMS, F16s, hundreds of Abrams, long range anti-ship missiles, and the Kerch Bridge would have been toast last spring. What have they actually gotten? Restrictions against attacking legitimate targets within Russia, NASAMS, IRIS-T, Patriots, cluster munitions, Leopards, and much more have all been late and under-supplied. Biden promised a whole 30 Abrams … next year! For Desert Storm against Iraq, which had one of the largest armies in the world at the time, the coalition deployed a thousand main battle tanks.

Lucifer Morningstar | July 20, 2023 at 3:39 pm

The move could draw the U.S., and European NATO member states into a direct conflict with Russia as they continue to supply Ukraine with military and humanitarian aid.

Which is exactly what that little shithead fraud Zelenskyy wants to happen. And something that simply must not happen under any circumstances. The U.S. has nothing to gain from engaging in a direct conflict with Russia. And the United States certainly doesn’t need to fight another war in Europe simply to bail out the European Union. That’s for sure.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to Lucifer Morningstar. | July 20, 2023 at 6:34 pm

    “Which is exactly what that little shithead fraud Zelenskyy wants to happen.”

    How did Zelinsky, breifly in politics, get so integrated into the shadow system, so fast?

    Was he hand picked, then installedlike Occasional Cortex?

    The U.S. has nothing to gain from engaging in a direct conflict with Russia.
    I’ll disagree with that. The question is not whether there’s anything to gain, but whether it’s worth the losses that come with it. What’s the relative value of everything that comes from war.

    Russia is an enemy (though not, technically, declared). But, are they a threat that ranks highly enough related to our interests to spend the sweat, blood, and dollars on?

Russia still bombing civilians. This is nothing new.

The Gentle Grizzly | July 20, 2023 at 5:16 pm

So, Biden and the neocons will get their war, and we kill off another generation of what few healthy youth we hav left.

I don’t understand, I thought Joe’s sanctions were going to bring Russia to it’s knees.

BobInBridgeport | July 21, 2023 at 10:36 am

Hey! Didn’t they always say: “All is fair in Love and War.” ????? If NATO and others want to keep supplying both sides, then this war will drag on for 20 or more years, just like Vietnam, Afghanistan and Syria and with similar, useless and pointless results and more and more death and destruction. DON’T WE EVER LEARN FROM THE PAST?