26 May 2023 11:42

Black Sea Initiative will need alternative unless Russian Agricultural Bank reconnected to SWIFT - Russian Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. May 26 (Interfax) - Alternatives to the Black Sea grain initiative will have to be found, if Russian Agricultural Bank is not reconnected to the SWIFT financial messaging network and if no progress is made in resolving other systemic problems impeding Russian agricultural exports, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"For our part, we note that since ammonia is not being shipped via the Yuzhny port, there are other ports that are still functioning with our assistance to export Ukrainian grain. If Russian Agricultural Bank is not reconnected to SWIFT and if there is no progress in resolving other 'systemic' problems that block our agricultural export, alternatives to the Black Sea initiative will have to be found," the ministry said.

Point 3 of the Black Sea grain deal makes it clear that "assistance" should be provided to facilitate "safe navigation to ensure the export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers, including ammonia, from the Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny ports," it said.

"Formally, it means the export of products - Ukrainian grain and Russian ammonia (warehouses of the Odessa portside plant continue to store 24,000 tonnes of ammonia, which has actually been stolen from us and the export of which Ukrainians have been hindering) - that were already at the ports when the agreement was signed. Though the transit of ammonia as well as the arrival of new consignments of grain is not specified to the letter, it is envisaged by the logic of the agreement. As regards grain, it has been done and is being done today, but there has been no further action as far as ammonia is concerned," the ministry said.