Russia is speculating on the "grain agreement" by preventing Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea. On 30 and 31 May, without any explanation, Russia registered for inspection only one arriving vessel to the port of Chernomorsk. And on 4 June, having registered two vessels, the Russians ignored the need to inspect 56 vessels that had been waiting in Turkish territorial waters for a long time for permission to enter Ukrainian ports.
Russia's Black Sea blockade of Ukraine's maritime trade with other countries amounts to piracy, or at least the threat of piracy. Russian warships are planting sea mines and firing missiles at commercial vessels, regardless of which flag they are flying and denying them access to Ukrainian ports. By accepting Russia's veiled threats to sink foreign-flagged merchant vessels in international waters, the global community has allowed the Kremlin to successfully blackmail the entire world.
With limited manoeuvres, Russia decided to playtime slash and burn card by blowing up the Kakhovska hydroelectric dam on 6 June, which will have a negative effect on the new Ukrainian harvest in the second half of 2023 and early 2024 leading potentially to an environmental and food disaster.
This was a pre-emptive strike by Russia against their main competitor for grain production on the world market, by which Russia wants to force major importers to buy their own agricultural products.
Today, the UN estimates that some 1.7 billion people in the world, mostly located in Africa, face starvation due to food system disruptions caused by Russia's invasion and war against Ukraine. Africa is a huge food market and leverage point and just on the eve of the Russia-Africa summit in St Petersburg in July, by claiming not to extend the "grain deal", Moscow is actually blackmailing African countries with hunger so that they are forced to support Russia's aggressive policy.
Today, because of Russia's blatant terrorist actions, few countries are willing to have friendly relations with the pariah country. Moscow deserves only tougher sanctions and global isolation.
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