Renewal of the grain agreement: Moscow sets conditions, kyiv rejects them | War in Ukraine

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Grain Deal Renewal: Moscow Sets Conditions, Kiev Rejects Them | War in Ukraine

The Brave Commander, a UN-chartered cargo ship carrying Ukrainian wheat. (Photo Archives)

Russia on Monday offered to extend the deal on Ukrainian grain exports, which expires on March 18, for just 60 days, an offer criticized by Kiev who sees in it a questioning of the initial agreement.

The agreement on "Black Sea Grain Initiative" implies at least 120 days of extension, Russia's position to extend it by only 60 days therefore contradicts the document signed by Turkey and the UN, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov tweeted, adding that Kyiv was waiting the official position of the United Nations and Ankara, as guarantors of the initiative.

In New York, Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, assured that the United Nations remained fully involved in “The Black Sea Grain Initiative”. and to work to facilitate Russian fertilizer and food exports.

Shortly after, the UN said in a statement dated from Geneva that it takes note of the Russian proposal and underlined that the UN chief confirmed that the United Nations would do everything possible to preserve the integrity of the Grain Initiative […] and ensure its continuity.

After talks in Geneva with the head of UN humanitarian affairs, Martin Griffiths, and the secretary general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), Rebeca Grynspan, the Russian deputy minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Verchinin says Moscow has no objection to further extension of 'Black Sea Initiative' after his second term expires on March 18, but only for 60 days.

Our future position will be determined by tangible progress in normalizing our agricultural exports, not in words, but in deeds. This includes bank payments, transport logistics, insurance, unfreezing financial activities and ammonia supply through the Togliatti-Odessa pipeline, Verchinin said in a statement.

He pointed out that he had frank and in-depth discussions in the Swiss city, which made it possible to confirm once again that if commercial exports of Ukrainian products are carried out at a steady pace and bring considerable profits in Kyiv, restrictions on Russian agricultural exporters are still in place.

UN Secretary General António Guterres alongside Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu, his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

This so-called Black Sea Agreement, signed last July for 120 days between the United Nations, Ukraine, Russia and Turkey, has resulted in alleviating the global food crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. It was renewed in November for four months and resulted in the export of more than 24 million tonnes of grain from Ukrainian ports, according to the UN .

But Russia is not happy with another agreement – bilateral – signed last July with the UN on the export of oil and gas. Russian fertilizers. It runs for three years.

Moscow complains that its exports of fertilizer, a staple for global agriculture, are de facto blocked, although x27; they do not fall under the sanctions imposed by Western countries since the beginning of the war.

The sanctions exemptions for foodstuffs and fertilizers announced by Washington, Brussels and London are mostly inactive, Mr. Verchinin reiterated on Monday.

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