Putin names 6 conditions for extension of grain deal

Russia will return to the “grain deal” if its requirements are met, “President” Vladimir Putin said. He listed 6 conditions necessary to renew the agreement.

Among them are the withdrawal of Russian grain and fertilizer supplies “to world markets” from sanctions, the connection of banks to SWIFT and the termination of “all restrictions” for them.

In addition, Putin demanded that imports of spare parts for agricultural machinery be resumed, the issue of freight and insurance of Russian ships be resolved, and the Togliatti–Odessa ammonia pipeline be restored. He also believes that the country’s assets related to agriculture should be unblocked. According to him, these conditions are specified in Russia’s memorandum with the UN.

Almost all of these restrictions are related to sanctions for the invasion of Ukraine. As for the Togliatti–Odessa ammonia pipeline, its operation was stopped immediately after the war started. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, about 2m tonnes of raw materials for the production of fertilizers were pumped through it per year. On 26 May, Russia said that it was ready to launch the ammonia pipeline “in a matter of days” and accused Ukraine of “slowing down the process”, followed by an explosion on the pipeline.

“We do not need any promises or ideas, we need fulfillment of these conditions, <…> and we will return to this agreement immediately”, Putin promised.

After listing all the demands, he said that “Western countries have turned the Black Sea initiative into a means of political blackmail and a way to enrich transnational companies” that exported and resold grain from Ukraine. Russia, on the contrary, “showed wonders of endurance and tolerance” by prolonging the agreement, Putin said.

He also complained that Russian agrarians lost $1.2bn because of the “grain deal”. At the same time, according to official statistics, agricultural exports grew by 12% year-on-year in 2022, reaching $41.5bn.

Russia withdrew from the Black Sea initiative on July 17, threatened military risks to those countries that decide to resume the deal without it, and shelled Ukraine’s port infrastructure.

In response, President Volodymyr Zelensky instructed the Foreign Ministry to propose to the UN and Turkey to continue the “grain corridor” bypassing Moscow. One of the options was to launch the route through the territorial waters of Romania and Bulgaria. The allies were also offered to organize a military patrol of the “grain corridor”.

After that, the Russian Defense Ministry said that it would destroy all the ships heading to Ukrainian ports and also consider the countries under whose flag they were sailing as participants in the war on Kyiv’s side.


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