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Putin: West cheated Russia over grain export deal

UN Secretary-General is concerned Russia will quit Black Sea Grain Initiative in July.

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Russian president Vladimir Putin said Russia was considering withdrawing from the Black Sea grain deal because the West had cheated Moscow by implementing none of the promises to get Russian agricultural goods to world markets, Reuters reports.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative was brokered in July 2022 for an initial 120 days, with the latest 60-day extension occurring May 17. The extension runs until July 17.

According to the report, to convince Moscow to approve of the grain deal in 2022, a three-year accord was struck at the same time under which United Nations (UN) officials agreed to help Russia with its own food and fertilizer exports.

But on June 13, Putin told a meeting of Russian war correspondents and military bloggers the accord has not been implemented because of the West's "cheating."

"Unfortunately, we were once again cheated - nothing was done in terms of liberalizing the supply of our grain to foreign markets," he told the meeting.

The Kremlin echoed Putin's statement on June 14, saying Russia's "goodwill" cannot last indefinitely.

"In the absence of reciprocity, the lack of desire on the part of the collective West to fulfil part of the agreements concerning Russia, this manifestation of goodwill and political will cannot be endless," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters.

Peskov said Russia's exit from the deal is being considered but no decision has been made yet.

End of the Black Sea Grain Initiative?

Russia has threatened several times not to extend the Black Sea grain deal unless a list of its demands regarding its own agricultural exports was met.

Two of Russia's demands include reopening a pipeline carrying ammonia from Russia to the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Pivdennyi and the reconnection of its agricultural bank Rosselkhozbank to the SWIFT international payment network.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on June 12 he was concerned Russia would quit the grain deal, noting Putin has made it clear he is ready to stop participation in it. Putin said Moscow was ready to supply grain for free to Africa.

G7 works to combat Ukrainian grain theft

In related news, the Group of Seven (G7) nations are working on a plan to combat the suspected theft of Ukraine's grain by using chemical identification of grain origin, Britain's food and farming minister Mark Spencer said on June 12.

According to Reuters, Spencer told an International Grains Council (IGC) conference in London that chemical identification will be an effective means for deterring further theft of Ukraine's grain.

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