John Bruce
When Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine, so many people and goods found themselves trapped in the matrix of war.

Part of the most important goods that found themselves trapped was a lot of grain destined to many parts of the world, Africa, included.

Suffice to say grain is staple food for billions of people the world over and its distribution and handling is therefore a critical humanitarian issue.

As soon as the war broke up, it became clear that many ships laden with grain would not leave the Black Sea ports to various needy destinations.

A world food crisis loomed since the region is the biggest producer of grain.

And, soon, many countries cried for assistance to have the grain allowed to be shipped.

The Turkey and UN-brokered deal was signed between Russia and Ukraine in July under which Moscow allowed the grain ships to leave Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

The agreement has already allowed more than 9 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain to be exported and was due to be renewed this November 19. One of the reasons why Russia ascended to the deal was that it considered billions of needy people in the world and especially in Africa who suddenly faced shortage of grain, albeit having nothing to do with the conflict.

But unbeknown to the world, the EU countries made sure they beefed up their stocks of grain at the expense of African countries. Which African country has received its consignment of grain. Ask the horn of Africa is ever it received its grain. This is called the great deception.

It is very racist in its approach. This is why Russia has of late been very hesitant to renew the deal. It feels that Africa was cheated by EU and US, more so, when Ukraine is being used to derail the same deal by bonding Russian offices on Black Sea. Those in the know, will tell you that the same treatment given to Africans during the evacuation of war refugees in the first days of the war in Ukraine, is the same being applies on the delivery of grain.

The major problem with the US is its cruel attitude of using sanctions on anyone who does not believe in their way.

Sanctions are a very negative tool. It is better for the US to cooperate with other countries than abuse sanctions and impose them willy-nilly. US and its allies are crazy, bullish, selfish and brazenly addicted to sanctions. The US and its allies are opposed to a free world where countries choose their friends and business partners.

The US is an enemy of the same freedom of association and democracy which it preaches.  Sanctions are bad and have been abused against all countries from Zimbabwe to Russia and little everywhere else.

Sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine should just go. They are hurting ordinary people all over the place.

But now Russia is very strong and has taken measures to protect itself from US sanctions and the measures are hurting ordinary European citizens.

US is not a good friend, if it was, it would have told Ukraine to be a good neighbour with Russia and not breach the Minsky agreement. Europe is greatly sacred of its citizens who already are asking why they are suffering for Ukraine.

They have been asking why the face a cold winter because of Ukraine. The food crisis would have made things pretty too hard for Europe. On the whole grain issue, Europe and US cheated African countries. They are thinking of themselves. The Africa were mentioned in the grain deal to make Russia feel more pity.

Russia recently pulled out of the deal, because basically the US and its allies in EU even bombed the black sea themselves and Russia had to intercept most of their bombs.

Are those not double standards? Is that not chicanery?

Currently, some 176 ships loaded with grain are being prevented from sailing from Ukraine’s ports, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, adding it was destined for seven million people in need.

But what Zelenskyy is not saying is that he bombed the passage himself with the assistance of his friends in NATO and yet at the same time, the grain is not designated for the countries he is talking about.

He wanted Russia blamed for failure of the grain movement. What hypocrisy?  This is tomfoolery. But you cannot fool all the people.

Russia is worried that there is not security guarantee from Ukraine and its friends.

They are breaching the same deal that they think helps them. Why bomb Russian position in the Black sea? Are they genuine?

Moscow suspended its participation in the deal on Saturday, effectively blocking shipments from Ukraine, one of the world’s top grain exporters, in response to a major Ukrainian drone attack earlier in the day on its Black Sea Fleet headquarters near the port of Sevastopol in Russian-annexed Crimea.

The EU urges Russia to its decision.”

As usual US President Joe Biden was quick to call the Russian decision to pull out of the grain deal “purely outrageous”, saying it would increase hunger, while US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Moscow of weaponising food.

But Russia’s ambassador to Washington responded, saying the US response was “outrageous” and made false assertions about Moscow’s move.

Russia’s defence ministry said Ukraine attacked the Black Sea Fleet near Sevastopol with 16 drones early on Saturday, and British navy “specialists” helped coordinate what it called a terrorist attack.

Russia said it had repelled the attack but that the ships targeted were involved in securing the grain corridor out of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

Russia’s departure from the grain deal marks a new development in an eight-month war that began with Russia launching a special military operation in February and has recently been dominated by Russian drone and missile attacks that have destroyed more than 30 percent of Ukraine’s power generating capacity and military.

Each side has accused the other of being prepared to detonate radioactive bombs.

Zelenskyy called for a strong response from the United Nations and Group of 20 (G20) major economies to what he called Russia’s nonsensical move on the grain deal.

“This is a completely transparent attempt by Russia to return to the threat of large-scale famine for Africa, for Asia,” Zelenskyy said in a video address on Saturday, adding Russia should be kicked out of the G20.

“This is food for more than 7 million consumers . . . Why is it that some handful of people somewhere in the Kremlin can decide whether there will be food on the tables of people in Egypt or Bangladesh?”             he said.

More than 9.5 million tonnes of corn, wheat, sunflower products, barley, rapeseed and soy have been exported since July. Under the deal, a Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) — made up of UN, Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian officials who agree on the movement of ships and inspects the vessels.

No ships moved through the established maritime humanitarian corridor on yesterday.

But the UN said in a statement that it had agreed with Ukraine and Turkey on a movement plan for 16 vessels today — 12 outbound and 4 inbound. That again shows intransigency and proves that the grain is more destined for EU countries than poor African countries. EU is very disparate to get the grain.

John Bruce is a European political scientist based in Brussels, Belgium


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