A news article with the headline “Ukraine’s grain export deal collapses, Russia withdraws security assurances in the Black Sea” came out on 18 July 2023. The article reported that Russia had renounced its maritime security assurance for the transport of food supplies from Ukraine, or put differently, this could imply the deployment of military forces.
This issue could amount to a breach of international law, particularly the Geneva Conventions and other international instruments on the protection of food and humanitarian shipments. In other words, in situations of armed conflict, humanitarian shipments should be spared from any damage or intentional or inadvertent assault. The inability to send Ukrainian grain or even the lack of access to agricultural inputs for Ukraine could be a stark illustration of this issue. With a strict interpretation of international law rules, we could regard this as a form of war crime and a crime against humanity by the conflicting parties. One of the repercussions of this issue could be a rise in inflation in the food sector or a hike in prices, especially in developing countries, and a reduction in the delivery of humanitarian shipments could follow.
This issue is recognised in international law, but it raises the question of why international organisations lack the ability to follow up on the breaches perpetrated by the Russian government. It is undeniable that there are some shortcomings in international law that warrant investigation.