Putin warns grain deal may be coming to an end, deal set to expire today as last ship leaves port

The Turkish president says he and Putin are “on the same page” regarding an extension

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Magyar Nemzet
FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin answers journalists' questions about the grain deal in Moscow, Russia, on July 13, 2023. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

The last ship to sail under the UN-brokered agreement to allow the safe export of Ukrainian grain to the Black Sea left the port of Odessa early on Sunday morning, ahead of the Monday deadline for the extension of the agreement. Now, Russian President Vladimir Putin is warning that the deal may not be extended unless certain demands are met.

Russian officials have repeatedly said there is no reason to extend the deal, saying there are no grounds for extending the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a threat previously made in the past before the deal was extended. Putin, however, has signaled that Russia may be ready to pull out from the deal.

“We may suspend our participation in the (Black See gain) deal. And if they say once again that they will fulfill the promises given to us, let them fulfill those promises. And then we will immediately rejoin the deal,” said Putin to reporters this weekend.

Russia has not agreed to register any new ships since June 27. A UN spokesman said on Friday that Secretary-General António Guterres was awaiting a response from Russian President Vladimir Putin for a proposal to extend the agreement. Meanwhile, the issue of global food security looms large.

Putin told South African President Cyril Ramaphosa by telephone on Saturday that commitments to remove obstacles to Russian food and fertilizer exports had not yet been met. Russia has repeatedly threatened to pull out of the agreement brokered by the UN and Turkey in July 2022 following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which was extended by two months on May 17.

Now, Russia is indicating that the deal can only resume if certain conditions are met, such as Russia being reconnected to the SWIFT financial transaction system

Moscow claims that the current agreement only refers to Ukrainian agricultural products, not Russian fertilizer exports.

Before the war in Ukraine started, the two countries accounted for nearly a quarter of global grain exports. These agricultural shipments were halted for nearly six months until representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the UN, and Turkey agreed to establish a humanitarian maritime corridor under the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

The agreement reached last July eased Russia’s maritime blockade by reopening three key Ukrainian ports.

Under the agreement, more than 1,000 ships carrying nearly 33 million tons of agricultural products have left Ukraine’s war-torn ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi.

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