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Grain deal U-turn offers lesson in calling Vladimir Putin’s bluff

By Andrew Roth

02 Nov 2022 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

Russia is increasingly isolated and cannot afford to sour diplomatic relations with Erdogan or leaders in Africa and the Middle East.

In the end, Vladimir Putin backed down. Faced with blocking ships carrying grain from Ukraine or tacitly admitting that his threats to do so had been a bluff, the Kremlin leader opted not to rekindle a global food crisis.

Russia’s exit from the deal that allowed exports of grain from Ukraine through the Black Sea was weeks in the making. Russia had threatened to do so after an explosion rocked the Crimea Bridge in October, and again after the drone attack on its Black Sea fleet last week.

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