The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he is “deeply disappointed” that his proposals to address obstacles to Russian exports of food and fertilizer products went “unheeded, and expressed “regret” that Moscow decided to withdraw from the grain deal.
“I deeply regret the decision by the Russian Federation to terminate the implementation of the Black Sea initiative, including the withdrawal of Russian security guarantees for navigation in the northwestern part of the Black Sea,” Guterres said in a televised statement on Monday. “The Black Sea initiative, together with the memoranda of understanding on facilitating exports of Russian food products and fertilizers have been a lifeline for global food security and the beacon of hope in a troubled world.”
Guterres explained the agreement had helped lower food prices by more than 23% since the beginning of the war.
“Ultimately, participation in these agreements is a choice, but struggling people everywhere and developing countries don't have a choice,” he said. “Hundreds of millions of people face hunger and consumers are confronting a global cost of living crisis and they will pay the price.”
“In the US we are already seeing a jump in wheat prices this morning,” he added.
Guterres concluded by saying he was aware certain obstacles had “remained in the foreign trade of Russian food and fertilizer products,” but said he had written a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin outlining solutions to those hurdles, as well as the benefits Russia had reaped from the deal.
Guterres said that despite today's decision, the UN "will not stop our efforts to facilitate the unimpeded access to global markets for food products and fertilizers from both Ukraine and the Russian Federation, I particularly want to recognize the efforts of the government of Turkey in this regard.”