Moscow yesterday threatened to end the international agreement allowing the export of Ukrainian grain, three and a half weeks before it expires.

“Terrorist attacks by the Kiev regime threaten the new extension of the ‘grain agreement’ after May 18,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a press release released Monday night.

Moscow, which launched a military invasion of Ukraine 14 months ago, has accused Ukrainian forces of using remote-controlled unmanned surface vessels to attack Russia’s Black Sea fleet last month and this month. The fleet is based in the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014, which is not recognized by the international community.

Kiev has not reacted so far.

Russia’s government has repeatedly threatened to cancel the grain export deal, which was extended for 60 days in mid-March.

In particular, the Kremlin insists that the exemption of Russian fertilizers from the sanctions imposed on Moscow is not being implemented as it should be.

When the war began, Russia imposed a blockade on Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea for months, preventing grain exports, raising fears of an outbreak of famine both in Ukraine itself and in developing countries. Ukraine and Russia are among the world’s most important grain exporters: they accounted for almost a quarter of the quantities available globally before the armed conflict broke out.

In the summer of 2022, the United Nations and Turkey mediated and succeeded in lifting the port blockade and concluding an agreement on grain exports, which allowed millions of tons of food to be exported.

The agreement envisages export through three ports; Turkey plays an intermediary role. Its implementation is considered critical to prevent humanitarian crises in developing countries and to control food prices worldwide.