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FT: EU considers concessions for sanctioned Russian bank to protect grain deal

by Martin Fornusek July 3, 2023 10:51 AM 1 min read
A vessel is seen in the port upon arriving under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Odesa, southern Ukraine, on April 12, 2023. (Yulii Zozulia / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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The EU is considering concessions for a sanctioned Russian bank to keep Moscow in the Black Sea  grain deal, the Financial Times (FT) reported on July 3, citing unnamed sources.

The Russian Agricultural Bank would be allowed to create a subsidiary connected to the SWIFT international payment system and capable of conducting transactions related to grain exports, FT wrote.

According to the outlet, this scheme was initially proposed by Moscow and brokered by the United Nations (UN).

The Kremlin-owned Russian Agricultural Bank was cut from SWIFT on June 14, expanding the list of Russian banks isolated from the global transaction system.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov threatened not to prolong the Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered by Turkey and the UN in July 2022, unless the West eases its restrictions against Russia's grain and fertilizers exports.

The grain deal has been essential in mitigating a global surge in food prices. Russia's all-out war against Ukraine, one of the world's top grain exporters, initially prevented Ukraine from shipping agricultural products through its Black Sea ports.

The deal was then extended several times, most recently in May 2023. The current agreed-upon extension period is set to expire on July 17.

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