18 May 2023 21:47

Black Sea grain deal to be terminated after July 17 if Russian terms not met - Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. May 18 (Interfax) - If the Russian terms for the Black Sea Grain Initiative are not met, it will be terminated after July 17, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"Without the implementation of these terms, there can be no talk of the Black Sea initiative's expansion in principle, and the agreement itself will be terminated after July 17," the ministry said in a statement published on its website.

"Upon the expiration on May 18 of the 60-day term which the Black Sea initiative on exporting Ukrainian food was extended for, and in response to appeals, primarily from Turkish partners as a party to the agreement, we have confirmed its extension for another two months, until July 17 inclusive, without any changes," it said.

Russia's "principled assessments of the interdependent Istanbul agreements remain the same: only the Black Sea initiative except for ammonia exports has been implemented thus far," it said.

"There has been no concrete progress on the Russia-UN Memorandum. Clear problems still persist as regards the deal's declared humanitarian component. Ukrainian grain has been exported via the sea corridor chiefly to states with high and higher-than-average incomes, including satiated European markets," while "deliveries of Russian products, including even free shipments of fertilizers to the poorest countries, are still facing the blocking effect of unlawful unilateral sanctions," the ministry said.

Nor has there been any "progress in resuming ammonia shipments stipulated by both Istanbul documents," particularly via the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline, it said.

In view of this, the Russian Foreign Ministry insisted on "the practical exemption of Russian fertilizers and foodstuffs from unilateral sanctions," and reiterated "five systemic conditions that have to be met within the framework of implementing the Russia-UN Memorandum, and on which progress has still not been made, namely Rosselkhozbank's reconnection to SWIFT, supplies of spare parts, the unblocking of transport logistics and insurance, the restarting of the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline, and the unfreezing of Russian companies' assets."