War in Ukraine: what to remember from Monday July 17

Will world food inevitably be hit by a crisis? Moscow refused, Monday, July 17, to renew the agreement on the export of Ukrainian cereals. This announcement came a few hours after an attack which partially destroyed, for the second time, the strategic bridge linking Russia to the Crimean peninsula which it annexed in 2014. Franceinfo looks back on the highlights of the day.

New attack targeting the Crimean Bridge

After being targeted for the first time in October 2022, the bridge, which connects Russia to the Ukrainian peninsula annexed in 2014, was partially destroyed. The attack caused extensive damage to the road section of the structure, which is also used to transport military equipment to the Russian army fighting in Ukraine. The concrete bridge, 18 km long, consists of two parallel structures, one reserved for road traffic and the other for rail traffic.

This attack was carried out by Ukrainian special services and naval forces using “naval drones”, told AFP a source within the Ukrainian security services (SBU). The Russian Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAK) said in a statement that it took place at 3:05 a.m. (2:05 a.m. Paris time) and confirmed that it was carried out by “naval surface drones”. Two civilians, a man and a woman who were driving, were killed there and their daughter injured, the Russian Investigative Committee said on Monday.

>> War in Ukraine: what we know about the new attack on the Crimean bridge, nine months after a previous explosion

Denouncing a “terrorist act of the kyiv regime”Vladimir Putin asked to strengthen security measures on the Crimean bridge. “I await concrete proposals to improve the safety of this important and strategic transport infrastructure”said the Russian president during a government meeting broadcast on television. “There will of course be a response from Russia. The Ministry of Defense is preparing appropriate proposals”he warned.

The Crimean Bridge’s supporting structures were not damaged by the blast, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin. Vladimir Putin considered it to be a “good news”. The Russian executive plans to fully reopen road traffic on the bridge by November 1.

Russia has terminated the Ukrainian grain deal

A few hours after this second attack targeting the Crimean bridge, Russia announced the end “de facto” of the agreement on the export of Ukrainian cereals, considered crucial for world food.

The Kremlin has assured that Russia will “immediately return to the implementation of this agreement” when the part concerning Russia will be completed, explains Dimitri Peskov, spokesman for the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin has repeatedly denounced the obstacles to the export of Russian food products and fertilizers, which was to accompany that of Ukrainian products.

>> War in Ukraine: what are Russia’s demands for extending the grain export agreement?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky assured that his country was ready to maintain its grain exports. “Even without Russia, everything must be done so that we can use this corridor (for exports) in the Black Sea”he said, according to his spokesperson.

Condemnations from the international community

“Hundreds of millions face hunger and consumers face a global cost of living crisis. They will pay the price”said Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary general, after the announcement of Russia’s withdrawal from the grain agreement. Participation in this agreement “is a choice. But struggling people everywhere and developing countries have no choice”he noted.

The head of American diplomacy described the Russian decision as“inadmissible”. Moscow’s choice of service “weaponizing food…will make it harder to get food to places that desperately need it and drive up prices”said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The American ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield for her part denounced a “new act of cruelty” from Moscow. Paris felt that Moscow should “stop blackmailing global food security”urging Russia to “reconsider”.

The end of this agreement “generates a phase of uncertainty” likely to lead “a rise in prices”estimated on BlazeTrends Arthur Portier, consultant at Agritel, a consulting firm specializing in agricultural and agro-industrial markets.

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