Russia reaffirms stance on grain export deal
Russian President Vladimir Putin has told his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan that Moscow was ready to return to the Black Sea grain deal as soon as the West met its obligations with regard to Russia’s own grain exports.
In a statement on Putin’s call with Erdogan, the Kremlin said: “It was noted that in the conditions of a complete lack of progress in the implementation of the Russian part of the ‘grain deal’, its further extension has lost all meaning.”
It added that Russia would return to the deal “as soon as the West actually fulfils all the obligations to Russia” contained within it.
Erdogan’s office said the Turkish leader had emphasised the importance of avoiding steps that could jeopardise the resumption of the Black Sea grain deal, which he described as a “bridge of peace“.
The two leaders also agreed that Putin would visit Turkey, it said. A senior Turkish official said that discussions between Ankara and Moscow were ongoing for a visit in late August.
Russia’s grain and fertiliser exports are not subject to Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its military actions in Ukraine. But Moscow has said restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance have been a barrier to shipments.
The U.S. envoy to the United Nations said on Tuesday there were “indications” that Russia might be interested in returning to talks about the deal. Asked about those comments on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed the need for the West to honour parts of the deal concerning Russian exports.
The deal, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July 2022, allowed for the safe export of grain from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Last month Moscow exited the deal, accusing the West of hampering Russia’s own grain and fertiliser exports.
The deal aimed to alleviate a global food crisis, and grain prices have risen since Moscow let it expire on July 17. Ukraine and Russia are both leading grain exporters.
Nearly 33 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain was exported while the Black Sea deal was in operation.