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Russia reaffirms conditions to return to Black Sea grain deal

Russia has reiterated its terms for re-entering the Black Sea grain deal, which it pulled out of in July. The crux of the conditions set by Russia emphasizes the reconnection of its state-owned agricultural bank to the SWIFT global bank payment system. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said any engagement with a subsidiary of the bank, as suggested by the UN, would not be enough.

“Our terms have always been transparent and specific,” Peskov noted. He also stressed that Russia’s position remains consistent, reflecting sentiments repeatedly shared by the president.

The Black Sea Agreement was established in July 2022 by Turkey and the UN. This agreement was initiated to allow Ukraine to export grain by sea amid ongoing war tensions, while simultaneously mitigating food shortages around the world. An auxiliary agreement was designed to help the export of food and fertilizers from Russia. However, Moscow claims this has not been updated. Following its exit from the deal, Russia has attacked Ukrainian ports and grain storage facilities, prompting accusations from Kiev and Western nations of weaponizing food resources.

This statement from Moscow comes days after a dialogue between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Tayyip Erdogan, where the grain deal was discussed. Putin appeared emboldened by Erdogan’s hint that Ukraine should reconsider its strategy in the revival talks, focusing more on African exports than on Europe. Ukraine, however, remains determined, rejecting any form of “Russian coercion”.

While direct sanctions on Russian grain and fertilizer exports are not in place, Moscow says they are still largely hamstrung by sanctions that affect port entry, insurance and other logistics, including the SWIFT disconnection of its agricultural bank, Rosselkhozbank.

In response, the UN suggested an alternative solution involving a Luxembourg-based subsidiary of Rosselkhozbank seeking SWIFT access, ensuring connectivity within a month. Peskov replied: “We demand adherence to the original agreements on Rosselkhozbank’s SWIFT access. Once they are fulfilled, the grain agreement can be restarted.”

This article is sourced from and written by AI.

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