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Putin claims no Russian conditions for extending grain deal met

by Martin Fornusek July 13, 2023 10:03 PM 2 min read
Cranes load grain into ships in the port of Odesa in July 2021. (Photo: Andrey Abryutin/Alamy Stock Photo)
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Russian dictator Vladimir Putin named several conditions for extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative, claiming that none of them have been met, the Interfax news agency reported on July 13.

Russia's demands focus on logistics, insurance, and movement of money when paying for Russian products, Putin said.

In particular, the dictator named reconnecting the Russian Agricultural Bank to the international SWIFT payment system among the requirements.

The Kremlin has reportedly not made a decision yet on the prolongation of the deal but considers rejoining once the conditions are met.

"We can suspend our participation in this deal. If everyone once again says that all the promises given to us will be fulfilled, let them fulfill this promise. We will immediately join this deal," Putin said.

Earlier on July 13, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres offered Putin to extend the deal in exchange for connecting a subsidiary of the Russian Agricultural Bank to SWIFT. The Russian leader told Interfax that he did not yet read the proposal.

The European Union cut the bank from the payment system on June 14 under its sanctions regime over the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The EU is not considering removing that restriction but is weighing an option to connect a subsidiary of Russia's Agricultural Bank to SWIFT, allowing grain and fertilizer transactions, unnamed sources told Reuters and the Financial Times.

Erdogan wants to extend grain deal for another 3 months
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, allowing Ukraine to continue exporting its grain amid Russia’s full-scale war, was prolonged on May 17, and is due to expire on July 18.

The grain deal, brokered by Turkey and the UN in July 2022, has been essential in mitigating a global surge in food prices.

The deal has been extended several times since then, currently set to expire on July 17.

Russia has repeatedly threatened to terminate the deal while sabotaging and delaying the inspections of ships carrying Ukrainian food products under the initiative.

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