On Monday, Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov considered that the Russian proposal to extend the Ukrainian grain export agreement for a period of 60 days contradicts the basic agreement signed in July, which expires on March 18, but he did not reject Moscow’s offer categorically.
He wrote in a tweet, “The agreement on the Black Sea Grain Initiative provides for an extension of at least 120 days, and Russia’s position to extend it for only 60 days contradicts the document signed by Turkey and the United Nations.”
He also made it clear that Ukraine is waiting for the “official position” of the United Nations and Turkey as “guarantors” of the agreement, according to AFP.
An international commitment to the “integrity” of the agreement
For its part, the United Nations affirmed its commitment to the grain agreement in the Black Sea, saying that its director-general will do everything possible to preserve its “safety” after Moscow proposed renewing it for a shorter period.
“The Secretary-General of the United Nations (Antonio Guterres) confirmed that the United Nations will do everything in its power to preserve the integrity of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and ensure its continuity,” it said in a statement late Monday after a meeting in Geneva.
This came after the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister announced, after negotiations with the United Nations in Geneva on Monday, that Moscow supports the extension of the Ukrainian grain export agreement for a period of only 60 days, after the application of the text was extended each time for a period of 120 days until now.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said in a written declaration sent to the media after negotiations with UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths and Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Rebecca Grynspan that “the Russian side is not opposed to a new extension of the Black Sea Initiative after the expiration of its second extension.” On March 18, but only for 60 days.
He also indicated that “our position in the future will be determined based on the tangible progress that will be made in terms of normalizing the conditions of our agricultural exports, not in words but in deeds. This includes bank payments, transportation mechanisms, guarantees, and lifting the freeze on financial activities and supplies of ammonia through the Tolyatti-Odessa pipeline.” .
“Generates big profits for Kiev”
Vershinin also stressed that the “frank and in-depth” discussion with senior UN officials “confirmed once again that commercial export operations of Ukrainian products are taking place at a steady pace and are generating great profits for Kiev, while the restrictions imposed on Russian agricultural exporters are still in place.”
He stressed that “the exemptions announced by Washington, Brussels and London, which included foodstuffs and fertilizers, are mostly ineffective.”
One of the ships loaded with Ukrainian grain (archive from Reuters)
more than 24 million tons
Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described the negotiations aimed at extending the Ukrainian grain export agreement as “complicated.”
The agreement allowed Ukrainian grain exports to resume, despite the dispute. This vital agreement for global food supplies also resulted in the export of more than 24 million tons of grain from Ukrainian ports, according to the United Nations.
Ukraine last week called for international efforts to keep the Black Sea shipping lanes open for grain. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also called during the G20 meetings in early March for Russia to renew the agreement.
Moscow asserts that the part of this agreement that allows it to export fertilizers without Western sanctions has not been fully respected.