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Russia questions grain and fertilizer export deal with Ukraine


By Reuters IST (Released)

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The United Nations, aided by Turkey, brokered a historic agreement on July 22 between Russia and Ukraine that revived Kyiv’s Black Sea grain and fertilizer exports.

Russia on Tuesday questioned a UN-brokered deal with Ukraine to boost grain and fertilizer exports from the two countries, accusing Western states of failing to honor promises to help facilitate shipments from Moscow.

Russia and Ukraine are both key suppliers of food and fertiliser, but Moscow’s February 24 invasion of its neighbor blocked Black Sea exports from Kyiv and stoked a global food crisis. Russia complained that the chilling effect of Western sanctions – imposed during the war – had slowed its shipments.

The United Nations, aided by Turkey, brokered a historic agreement on July 22 between Russia and Ukraine that revived Kyiv’s Black Sea grain and fertilizer exports.

But a key part of the deal was to facilitate Russian food and fertilizer exports as well. The United States and others worked to reassure banks, shipping and insurance companies that such transactions were allowed and that Russian food and fertilizers were never subject to sanctions.

“Our Western colleagues are not doing what the UN Secretary General has promised us,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday. “They are not making decisions to remove logistical sanctions that prevent free access of Russian grain and fertilizers to world markets.”

Lavrov said he is talking to the United Nations about these issues. The deal is the only significant diplomatic breakthrough in Ukraine’s six-month war.

“We continue to overcome a number of obstacles under the existing sanctions regimes to facilitate the export of Russian grain and fertilizers,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday.

The US State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Lavrov’s remarks.

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said later on Tuesday that the 120-day agreement Russia had reached with Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations “should normally be extended”.

But when asked if it could fall apart, he replied: “Given the results or rather no results – I’m not ruling anything out, but that’s not for me to decide.”

“We want to see the Russian part of the deal implemented so far,” he said, saying no Russian grain or fertilizer had been exported under the deal brokered by the government. UN, without giving further details.

Russia suspended all official export data in April, but traders and industry analysts said last week that Russian wheat exports are expected to fall from 3.5 million tonnes in August to 4 million. tons in September.

Last month, the Interfax news agency quoted Trade Minister Denis Manturov as saying that Russia’s fertilizer exports fell 7% in the first half of the year.

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