A month has passed since Russia announced its withdrawal from the grain agreement. De facto, this happened even earlier - since the fall of last year, the corridor almost stopped working, as the Russian side in the Joint Coordination Center in Turkey blocked the passage of ships, reducing their number every month. The economic blockade of Ukraine was the initial plan of the aggressor country, as evidenced by Russian documents accessed by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

Russia's withdrawal from the grain agreement exposed a new reality: Ukraine began to take an active position and showed that it can not only claim the status of a maritime state at the level of statements, but also at the level of concrete actions. From the rules imposed on us, we moved to establishing our own, and specific military steps have shown that Moscow will no longer be able to talk exclusively from a position of strength in the Black Sea.

What exactly happened this month?

First. This is an asymmetric military response and strikes on Russian ships. This was preceded by a coastal message from Ukraine on August 4, according to which the waters of Russian ports on the Black Sea were declared to be under military threat. On the same day, it became known that the amphibious assault ship "Olenegorsky Hornyak" was attacked near Novorossiysk. The next day, on August 5, a Russian-flagged tanker named Sig was damaged in the Kerch Strait during a drone attack.

With such actions, Ukraine showed that the Black Sea does not belong to the Russian Federation, and armed with sea drones worth several tens of thousands of dollars, we can significantly influence the economy of the aggressor country. After all, after the attack on Russian ships, the cost of insurance for them increased significantly.

Second. A broad diplomatic discussion on the subject of a new security architecture in the Black Sea, which was joined by influential world politicians, including US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. CFTS is also a platform for this discussion. We spoke with cargo owners, military experts and will continue to raise this topic in the future - a meaningful conversation about the new security strategy in the region, diplomatic efforts and the outlines of the new Ukrainian Black Sea fleet.

Third. The creation of a temporary corridor for the exit of ships from Ukrainian ports, which was a logical continuation of the first two steps. The container ship JOSEPH SCHULTE, which became the first ship to use this corridor and left the port of Odesa the day before, as of 18:00 on August 17, is passing the coast of Bulgaria and is already approaching the territorial waters of Turkey.

Oleksandr Kubrakov, Deputy Prime Minister for the Reconstruction of Ukraine, Minister of Development of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure of Ukraine, stated that the temporary corridor will primarily be used for the evacuation of ships that were in the Ukrainian ports of Chornomorsk, Odesa and Pivdenny at the time of the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation. But the fact that such ships will be released as a matter of priority does not mean that other ships will not be allowed to leave. In any case, the main thing is for us to decide.

Undoubtedly, many problems remain, the main one of which is the need for military protection of the port infrastructure, which is under the attack of missiles and drones all this month. But the main thing is that Ukraine has shown that it can be a maritime state and no foreign agreements can dictate to us decisions that do not correspond to our geopolitical interests.