Crimean bridge explosion disrupts Russian supply lines as Ukrainian grain deal expires

The Kerch Strait Bridge that connects the occupied Crimean Peninsula to the mainland of Russia was attacked early Monday morning. The bridge has been used to provide support to the Russian military in Southern Ukraine.

Just hours after the attack, Russia pulled out of the Black Sea grain deal, which was an agreement that helped to stabilize global food prices.

This refusal to extend the agreement by Moscow came amid complaints that pledges to "free up" its own experts in food and fertilizer had been broken, per Reuters

The attack is the latest setback for the Russian military command, which has reportedly experienced internal conflict, according to the New York Times.

The Russian military has been reeling since the debacle with the Wagner group that transpired last month. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Wagner group leader Evgeny Prigozhin apparently came to an agreement before the group reached Moscow.

Shortly after the attack, Moscow announced that it was backing out of the Black Sea grain deal. But the Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitri S. Peskov, said that the attack didn’t have anything to do with the country’s decision to suspend participation in the deal.

The deal initially allowed Ukraine to move grain out of the country by sea despite a wartime blockade. Now that Russia has bowed out of the deal, it’s uncertain if global food prices will remain stable.

Ukraine is a major producer of grain and other food items, and the United Nations (UN) has warned that cutting off exports through the Black Sea could mean parts of the Middle East and Africa could face famine, according to the report.

Russia has complained for months that the grain deal brokered by the UN and Turkey has allowed Ukraine to push out millions of tons of grain from its ports in the Black Sea, past a blockade formed by Russian warships. Russia said that it had bowed out of the deal until its requests had been met.

Putin’s demands are heavy, which include: Tethering Russia’s agricultural bank to the SWIFT payment system; lifting restrictions on maritime insurance; ending sanctions against fertilizer businesses and people tied to them; and restoring an ammonia pipeline that crosses through Ukraine.

While Ukraine has been able to move its goods throughout the world, Russia has noted that Western sanctions have affected the sale of Russia’s agricultural products. This runs counter to the pact that was signed in July, which ensured that the deal wouldn’t affect agricultural products and fertilizers coming out of Russia.

Russia has blamed Ukraine for the attack on the bridge linking the Russian mainland to the Crimean peninsula, but Ukraine hasn’t taken responsibility. 

Image: Title: zel putin