Moscow has warned it will not renew the deal unless its own exports are unblocked by the West
Russia’s dissatisfaction with the way the Ukrainian grain deal was implemented is understandable, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu acknowledged. The Kremlin has vowed it will let the deal expire in mid-May unless the United States and EU lift sanctions that effectively prevent Russia from exporting its products and fertilizers.
In an interview with Türkiye’s Hurriyet newspaper published on Friday, Cavusoglu acknowledged that “what was promised to Russia did not come true.”
“You can’t say that the Russians are wrong [with their complaints]”, argued the minister.
According to the diplomat, Ankara has informed Washington and London that the future of the deal – officially known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative – is at stake. Cavusoglu said the United States and the Kingdom United are “two countries [which] are essential in the banking sector”, and that the « inclusion of the Russian agricultural bank [Rosselkhozbank] in the SWIFT system also depends [on them].”
The official revealed that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had suggested using a Turkish bank to facilitate payments to Russia for its grain and fertilizer exports.
“The objective is to resolve the problem and maintain the agreement”, Cavusoglu insisted.
On Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RIA Novosti that Moscow believes in the grain deal “cannot be extended without meeting the requirements.”
In accordance with the agreement initially negotiated by the UN and Turkey last July, corridors have been established across the Black Sea to ensure the safe passage of Ukrainian grain, mainly destined for the poorest countries whose food security was threatened.
The deal also required the United States and its allies to unblock Russian grain and fertilizer exports, which have remained largely crippled due to Western sanctions on shipping, as well as denial of access to brokerage services. and insurance.
Officially, however, the US and EU have exempted Russian grain and fertilizer from the sanctions.
In March, Moscow agreed to extend the grain deal for 60 days, warning it would not do so again if other parties failed to meet all of its terms.