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'Grave offense to God': Pope Francis calls on Russia to restore grain deal

'Grave offense to God': Pope Francis calls on Russia to restore grain deal Pope Francis (Getty Images)

Pope Francis addressed Russia in a Sunday prayer at the Vatican, urging Moscow to restore the grain deal, as Vatican News reports.

Pope Francis at the conclusion of the Sunday Angelus appealed for continued prayers for "beleaguered Ukraine, where the war is destroying everything, even grain."

The Pope said grain is God's gift to feed humanity, and the war destruction that threatens it is a grave offense to God. “The cry of millions of brothers and sisters who suffer hunger rises to Heaven," said Francis.

Speaking from the window of the Apostolic Palace on St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, the Pope added “I appeal to my brothers, the authorities of the Russian Federation, that the Black Sea Initiative may be restored and grain may be transported safely.”

Russia's exit from the grain deal

This month, Russia withdrew from the UN-brokered agreement concerning the transit of Ukrainian grain. The deal had previously ensured the safe passage of Ukrainian cargo ships carrying grain, oil, and wheat to the global markets.

Now, Ukraine will be forced to rely heavily on expensive routes through the European Union, while the cheapest alternative route, the Danube River, may not be able to increase its capacity after the Russian bombings of ports.

According to the International Monetary Fund's estimates, this situation may lead to a 10-15% increase in world grain prices.