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Putin refuses to resume grain deal

Erdogan and Putin
Turkish and Russian presidents during a joint press conference in Russia’s Sochi on 4 September 2023. Credit: RT.
Putin refuses to resume grain deal

After talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Russia today, Russian President Vladimir Putin refused to resume the Black Sea grain deal, which Russia suspended in July 2023, the Yevropiska Pravda reported.

Russia is not ready to immediately return to the Black Sea grain initiative, Putin said during the joint press conference with Erdogan in Sochi.

Putin said that for Russia to return to the grain deal, the requirements set by the Kremlin must be fulfilled. Russian demands include reconnecting Russia’s Rosselkhozbank to SWIFT, supplying spare parts for Russian agricultural machinery, unblocking transportation logistics and insurance, resuscitating the Tolyatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline, and unfreezing the assets of Russian companies abroad.

“Russia will be ready to resuscitate the grain deal and will do so as soon as all the agreements are fulfilled,” the Russian President said.

Putin noted that Russia wants the West to lift some sanctions on supplying Russian grain and fertilizers to European markets. The Russian President claimed that Russia’s suspension of the grain deal did not affect the food prices in the world.

Before meeting with Erdogan in Russia’s Sochi on 4 September, Putin said he was open to discussing the resumption of Russia’s participation in the grain deal.

The Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, commented on the meeting between the presidents of Türkiye and Russia, noting that there were no legal and political grounds for the Russians to withdraw from the grain deal.

“We understand the general logic of the discussion. Our position is simple: the Black Sea Grain Initiative should be resumed. Secondly, it should be resumed not by satisfying the whims and blackmail of Russia,” Kuleba said.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister noted that any concessions to Russia will lead to new demands from the Russian side that uses a “classic blackmail” to achieve its goals.

“Taking into account that Russia cannot be trusted, – it is necessary to develop alternative sea corridors to the Black Sea Grain Initiative,” Kuleba added.

In July 2023, Russia suspended the Black Sea grain agreement, signed in the summer of 2022, to unblock the export of Ukrainian grain. Wheat prices started rising following the suspension of the grain deal. In particular, Benchmark Chicago wheat futures rose as much as 4.2% after Russia announced it would not extend the Black Sea grain deal and refused to provide security guarantees for civilian vessels traveling to and from Ukrainian ports.

Shortly after withdrawing from the grain deal, the Russian army started to strike Ukrainian ports and grain storage infrastructure. 

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