Christian Aid has condemned Russia for pulling out of the Black Sea grain deal for an "indefinite term," after what it said was a major Ukrainian drone attack on its Black Sea fleet in Crimea.
The international development agency has urged all parties to the deal, which would allow the export of Ukrainian agricultural products to world markets, to persuade Russia to change its mind.
Elizabeth Hallinan, Christian Aid's global crisis contexts lead, said: "Any interruption to grain exports is a body blow to countries already reeling from spiralling energy and food prices. Russia's unilateral suspension will only push more people to starvation. It is critical that all parties keep talking to find a way for grain to reach countries desperate to feed their people."
Grain was still flowing out of Ukraine at a record pace on Monday under the initiative led by the United Nations aimed at easing global food shortages.
Other participants were pressing ahead with the deal despite Russia's withdrawal, while France said it was working to boost Ukraine grain exports via land routes in conjunction with other European Union states.
Ukraine is one of the world's largest grain exporters, but the conflict with Russia led to the closure of its seaports in February, driving up food prices and contributing to a steep rise in acute hunger across the globe.
The deal, signed on 22nd June, has helped ease the crisis with more than 9.5 million tonnes of corn, wheat, sunflower products, barley, rapeseed and soy exported under the pact.
A record volume of 354,500 tonnes of agricultural products was carried on vessels leaving Ukrainian ports on Monday, a spokesperson for Odesa's military administration said.
"Civilian cargo ships can never be a military target or held hostage. The food must flow," tweeted Amir Abdullah, the UN official coordinating the programme.
Russia said on Monday it would be risky for Ukraine to continue exporting.
"In conditions when Russia is talking about the impossibility of guaranteeing the safety of shipping in these areas, such a deal is hardly feasible, and it takes on a different character - much more risky, dangerous and unguaranteed," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.