MOSCOW — Russia says it is suspending its participation in a United Nations-brokered deal to secure the export of Ukrainian grain out though the Black Sea.
According to Russia's Foreign Ministry, Moscow is exiting the grain deal for an "undetermined period."
The move came just hours after Russia's Defense Ministry claimed it had largely repelled a series of Ukrainian drone attacks on Russian ships in the Black Sea that it said were safeguarding shipping lanes under the agreement.
On Saturday, the U.S. State Department condemned the move, saying the U.S. regrets Russia's decision to leave the agreement.
"In suspending this arrangement, Russia is again weaponizing food in the war it started, directly impacting low- and middle-income countries and global food prices, and exacerbating already dire humanitarian crises and food insecurity," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
Authorities in Kyiv accused Moscow of creating a "false pretext" to block the grain corridor.
In recent weeks, Russia had threatened to exit the deal over complaints the agreement had opened up Ukrainian grain shipments but failed to live up to promises to allow the export of Russian fertilizer and food products.
The U.N. has called on both parties to refrain from imperiling a deal that provided food to millions around the globe. More than 9 million tons of grain and other food products have been exported under the deal, contributing to lower prices of wheat and other commodities, the U.N. says.