| 1 October 2023, Sunday |

Kremlin says it sticks to conditions for return to Black Sea grain deal

The Kremlin said on Saturday it was sticking to its conditions for a return to the Black Sea grain deal which it quit in July.

In particular, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia needed its state agricultural bank – and not a subsidiary of the bank, as proposed by the United Nations – to be reconnected to the international SWIFT bank payments system.

“All our conditions are perfectly well known. They do not need interpretation, they are absolutely concrete and all this is absolutely achievable,” Peskov said.

“Therefore Russia maintains its responsible, clear and consistent position, which has been repeatedly voiced by the president.”

The Black Sea deal was brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July 2022 to enable Ukraine to export grain by sea despite the war and help ease a global food crisis.

It was accompanied by an agreement to facilitate Russia’s own exports of food and fertiliser, which Moscow says has not been fulfilled.

Moscow’s uncompromising restatement of its position came five days after President Vladimir Putin met his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan and discussed the grain issue.

Russia appears to have drawn encouragement from Erdogan’s statement at that meeting that Ukraine should “soften its approaches” in talks over reviving the deal, and export more grain to Africa rather than Europe. Ukraine said it would not alter its stand and would not be hostage to “Russian blackmail”.

  • Reuters