20 Mar 2023 15:06

Moscow to suspend participation in grain deal if no progress made in implementing its Russian component - Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. March 20 (Interfax) - Russia will suspend its participation in the Black Sea grain deal on May 18 if no progress is made toward the implementation of its Russian component, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

"A future decision on extending the initiative will depend on progress in implementing the following preconditions in the context of the Russia-UN Memorandum's implementation: Rosselkhozbank's reconnection to SWIFT, the resumption of agricultural equipment and spare parts shipments and maintenance, the lifting of insurance and reinsurance restrictions plus the lifting of the ban on access to ports, the resumption of the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline's operations, and the unblocking of foreign assets and accounts of Russian companies related to the production and transportation of foodstuffs and fertilizers," the ministry said in a statement on its website.

"Without progress in implementing said requirements, which are absolutely not new and should be settled within the framework of the Russia-UN Memorandum, our participation in the Black Sea initiative will be suspended," it said.

"The second 120-day period of the Black Sea initiative's validity on exporting Ukrainian food expired on March 18," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"In the absence of progress in the implementation of the Russia-UN Memorandum on normalizing Russian agricultural exports, Moscow has decided to reduce the period for which [the deal] is to be extended to 60 days, that is, until May 18," it said.

As reported earlier, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Nations signed two documents in Istanbul on July 22, 2022 to set up a sea corridor for exporting grain from the Ukrainian seaports of Odessa, Chernomorsk, and Yuzhny and to lift barriers from exports of Russian food and fertilizers.