Russia warns over Black Sea grain deal

Russian foreign minister says a UN agreement aimed at overcoming obstacles to Russian grain and fertilizer exports needs to be fulfilled.

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Ukraine Black Sea Region Globe Map Via Pixabay April 2023
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Russia warned the West on Monday that a deal allowing Ukrainian grain to be exported from the Black Sea would cease unless a United Nations (UN) agreement aimed at overcoming obstacles to Russian grain and fertilizer exports was fulfilled, reports Reuters.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a visit to Nairobi the UN-Russia memorandum had not been fulfilled "at all." The UN-Russia agreement was reached at the same time as the Black Sea deal.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative was brokered in July 2022 for an initial 120 days, with the latest 60-day extension occurring May 17, one day before it was set to expire. Russia has threatened several times not to extend the deal unless a list of its demands regarding its own agricultural exports was met.

Russia's complaints center around several conditions, including the restoration of access to the SWIFT financial messaging system for Russian state-owned agriculture-focused bank, a resumption of farm machinery supplies, and the unblocking of foreign assets and accounts held by Russian agricultural companies.

While Russian exports of food and fertilizer are not subject to Western sanctions, Moscow says they are hampered by restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance.

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