Ukraine's military attack again hit Russia's navy on the Black Sea. The Russian response was quick and quite different as Russia said it pulled out of a deal to allow millions of tons of Ukrainian grain to be exported.
|Ukraine grain ship passing the Bosphorus Strait. Photo: VNA/AFP|
Russia explained its suspension with claims that Ukraine and the UK had attacked the Russian Black Sea fleet with drones, thus seriously affecting civilian ships in the grain corridors and a minesweeping ship.
The deal, brokered by the UN and Turkey but signed by Russia and Ukraine last July, allowed Ukraine to export its grain via the Black Sea without being attacked on specific routes from Ukraine to the Bosphorus in Turkey. Ukraine is one of the world's major grain producers and explorers.
This agreement would originally be valid until coming November 18 but could be extended if both sides wanted. This deal was also the first, and until now unique, one reached and signed between Russia and Ukraine since the breaking-out of the Russian-Ukrainian war and was claimed by the UN and Turkey as a significant success of international diplomacy. Now, it is over. Russia conditions its return to this agreement with such demands that the UN and Turkey can not and Ukraine will not meet.
For both Ukraine and Russia, Ukraine's military strikes against Russia on the Black Sea and the Crimea peninsular and the Russian suspension of the grain export deal were all actions directed by the motto "Attack is the best defense." Ukraine targeted Russia, which Russia believed it was safe from Ukraine's military strikes, and thus brought the war back to Russia.
Ukraine needs military success of any kind to show its capabilities to resist Russia's military powers and to encourage its Western supporters to continue backing Ukraine in its war with Russia. Militarily small attacks could have politically and psychologically very important impacts on Ukraine. Attacking there to improve defending somewhere else.
Russia terminated one for Ukraine, the UN, Turkey, and the West very crucial deal to show it linked its adherence to this deal with its commitments to guarantee security for Russian navy and military facilities on the Black Sea and in the Crimea, thus preventing Ukraine from attacking Russia on the Black Sea and Crimea. Russia pushed Ukraine to choose between attacking Russia there and being cut off its sea-way to export its grains.
It was exciting and notable that Russia accused Great Britain of standing behind Ukraine in this case. Russia sent messages of warnings and deterrence to Great Britain and Nato regarding their increased direct interventions in the war between Russia and Ukraine.
It was obvious that Russia's intention with its pull-out from the grain export deal was to show to Ukraine, Nato, the UN, and Turkey that Russia and only Russia is now in the position to dictate rules and conditions for any further diplomatic negotiations and agreements related to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Therefore, the war is still going on, de-escalation is getting more difficult and a peacefully negotiated end to this war is still far.
Disclaimer: The views expressed by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Hanoi Times.