Russian Armed Forces Raid Ship in International Waters Near Turkey
As Turkey looks to coax Moscow to rejoin the Black Sea grain deal, Russian armed forces raided a ship off Turkey’s coast, in international waters. Moscow defined this raid as an “inspection”. On Sunday, a Russian warship fired warning shots at a cargo ship, bound northward, in the Black Sea after the vessel’s captain failed to respond to a request to stop for an inspection.
The incident in Turkish waters tests President Tayyip Erdogan’s resolve to maintain good relations with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Moscow pulled out of the Turkiye- and UN-brokered deal to export Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea last month. The deal had protected grain exports from Ukraine.
Yoruk Isik, an Instanbul-based geopolitical analyst at the Bosphorus Observer consultancy, in regards to the latest incident said this type of aggression being exercised so close to Instanbul went unchecked and doesn’t respect Turkey’s overall rights. He described Ankara’s silence as strange. Isik highlighted that this shows that Turkey is still counting on Putin to visit and return to the grain deal. Erdogan wants the West to accept some of Russia’s demands, in other for Moscow to restart Ukraine grain exports under UN and Turkish oversight.
Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, said it is in contact with all sides to return to the table though it was difficult partly given the recent bombardment of grain infrastructure. Russia backing away from the grain deal has prompted an increase in global commodity prices and raised concerns about global food insecurity and world hunger.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) also wants Russia back in the Black Sea grain deal. Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi, GCC Secretary General, emphasized the importance of resuming the grain export agreement between Russia and Ukraine through the Black Sea, in order to facilitate the export of grains, essential food and humanitarian supplies, contributing to ensuring food security in affected countries.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Ambassador to the UN, said if Russia wants to get its own fertilizer to global markets and make agricultural transactions, it has to return to this deal. She pointed out that there have been indications that Moscow might be interested in returning to discussions.
Russia said if its demands to improve its own exports of grain and fertilizer were met, it would consider resurrecting the Black Sea agreement as agreed in July 2022.