NATO said Wednesday it was stepping up surveillance of the Black Sea region as it condemned Russia’s exit from a landmark deal that allowed Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea.
The announcement came after a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council, which was launched at a NATO summit in Lithuania earlier this month to coordinate cooperation between the military alliance and Kyiv.
The Kremlin doubled down on terminating the grain deal by attacking Ukrainian ports and declaring wide areas of the Black Sea unsafe for shipping.
“Allies and Ukraine strongly condemned Russia’s decision to withdraw from the Black Sea grain deal and its deliberate attempts to stop Ukraine’s agricultural exports on which hundreds of millions of people worldwide depend. … NATO and allies are stepping up surveillance and reconnaissance in the Black Sea region, including with maritime patrol aircraft and drones,” read the NATO statement.
Last week, Russia halted the breakthrough wartime deal that allowed grain to flow from Ukraine to countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where hunger is a growing threat and high food prices have pushed more people into poverty.