Russia is set to resume its participation in the Ukraine grain export deal, the country’s defence ministry has confirmed.
Moscow pulled out of the UN-brokered agreement over the weekend following what it called a “terrorist attack” on its fleet of Black Sea ships in Crimea by Ukrainian forces.
The country said it could not guarantee the safety of civilian ships crossing the popular trade route following the incident, which Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for.
Putin accused of ‘covert’ mobilisation – Ukraine war latest
However, after receiving written guarantees from Kyiv that it will not use the Black Sea grain corridor for military operations against Russia, Vladimir Putin rowed back on the decision.
“The Russian Federation considers that the guarantees received at the moment appear sufficient, and resumes the implementation of the agreement,” the defence ministry said as it announced it would restart exports.
The deal enables the shipment of millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain through blockaded ports, and aims to help avert famine in poorer countries.
Turkey confirmed the news, saying that Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu had told his Turkish counterpart that operations would restart as of midday on Wednesday.
“The grain transports will continue as agreed before as of 12pm today,” Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said.
How did the markets react?
Wheat prices tumbled 6% when news of the Russian change of heart reached financial markets.
It erased gains seen on Monday, when participants were able to first react to Saturday’s news that the Black Sea export deal was off.
Other commodities, such as corn, also fell back in price.
The easing of costs is important as it removes some inflationary pressure that would have fed down supply chains had Moscow not relented.
Ukraine calls for ‘tough response’ from world leaders
Ships have continued to carry Ukrainian grain along the route, despite the suspension, but it was unlikely that this would have continued for much longer as insurance companies stopped issuing new contracts.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been calling for world leaders to respond firmly to any attempts by Russia to disrupt the export corridor.
Inside Ukraine’s trenches
What is the tactical situation in Ukraine?
Why Ukraine is different from earlier conflicts
The route across the Black Sea has been blocked since the beginning of Russia’s invasion.
As a result, food shortages across several countries have been exacerbated, with Ukraine being one of the world’s biggest grain suppliers.
“Russia must clearly be made aware that it will receive a tough response from the world to any steps to disrupt our food
exports,” Mr Zelenskyy said during his nightly address.
“At issue here, clearly, are the lives of tens of millions of people.”