Analysis: Why Russia pulled out of grain deal

Russia has refused to extend a deal allowing Ukraine to export grain and other food items. The agreement, which expired Monday, was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey last July and had been extended three times.

Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov announced Monday that Moscow would pull out of the deal. He said Russia would only review its decision if its demands were met.

NHK international politics commentator Amma Hideo has been covering Russian politics for three decades. He shares his thoughts on the situation.

International politics commentator Amma Hideo formerly served as a NHK's Moscow bureau chief.

The view from Moscow

Amma says Russia pulled out of the agreement for two reasons.

First, Moscow believes it's unfair that Ukrainian farms have been able to sell their products abroad while Russian agricultural exports are being blocked by sanctions.

Amma says Russia also wants its agricultural bank to be allowed back into the SWIFT international payment system, and it wants to pressure the US and its allies into backing off on some sanctions.

Moscow's second reason concerns the frontline situation. Amma says while Ukraine's counteroffensive is going slowly, it appears to be gaining ground and there are signs the fighting could drag on.

He also says the additional weapons NATO members have promised Ukraine and the cluster bombs that the US is providing will help hold back Russian forces.

Turkey's changing role

Turkey has been serving as an intermediary between Russia and the West despite being a NATO member.

Amma says Ankara's role could be changing, pointing to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent decision to back Sweden's membership in NATO.

Erdogan also angered Russia earlier this month by allowing Azov battalion commanders to return to Ukraine.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Moscow accused Ankara of breaking the agreement that permitted the former prisoners of war, who were captured after the fall of Mariupol, to live in Turkey for the remainder of the conflict.

Blowback may damage Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Amma says Ukraine's inability to export grain will have a negative impact in Africa, where many countries are already suffering from food instability. This will damage Russia's reputation in the region, which it considers strategically important. That could make Moscow reconsider its decision.

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