Another blackmail by the Kremlin: Russia reiterates its unwillingness to extend the grain deal
Once again, Russia is trying to blackmail Ukraine and its Western allies by claiming that there are "no prospects" for the continuation of the grain deal. However, Moscow has not yet refused to hold consultations.
The Russian Federation has also claimed "distortions" in the implementation of the grain deal, and demanded that these so-called distortions be corrected. This was stated by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin to Russian media on 5 June.
"We do not see them (prospects - Ed.). But we continue, of course, consultations with the United Nations representatives on both parts of the package agreements that were signed last July," the Russian official said.
Vershinin also said that Russia is demanding that "the existing significant distortions" that allegedly exist in the implementation of the agreement to ensure grain exports from Ukraine be eliminated. Otherwise, the official threatened, "such agreements will not work".
As you know, the previous attempt of Russian blackmail was crushingly defeated - no terrorists' conditions were met. But even now, Russia is trying to force Ukraine and the UN to agree to its demands, without which Moscow will allegedly refuse to extend the grain deal:
- The UN and Russia should sign a separate memorandum to unblock the supply of Russian agricultural products;
- Ukraine should reopen the Togliatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline, which has been out of service since the beginning of the war;
- The EU should reconnect the sanctioned Rosselkhozbank to the SWIFT system, which was disconnected from the financial institution due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Ukraine is ready to continue the operation of the grain corridor without Russian involvement, thanks to state guarantees for shipowners and the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This was stated by the head of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy Mykola Solsky in an interview with Reuters.
According to Solsky, at the moment, only legally everything looks like the grain corridor is working. In reality, Moscow is blocking the initiative's work with its actions. The Pivdennyi port is actually blocked, despite the agreements, and only one ship a day leaves the ports of Greater Odesa.
Therefore, Ukraine is considering the option of excluding Russia from the grain deal, and ensuring that the corridor's operation is guaranteed by the Ukrainian government, for which a guarantee fund of USD 547 million has been created. The work of the grain corridor will also be ensured by the Armed Forces, in particular the Air Defence of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
"If we are completely blocked, which is almost certain, carriers can use this corridor with guaranteed insurance from our government. Shipowners can be fairly confident that the Ukrainian military and air defence can do their job," the minister said.
As previously reported by OBOZREVATEL, on May 17, the grain deal was extended despite Russian blackmail, but as of early June, the agreement is not actually working; currently, more than 50 ships with grain remain blocked in Ukrainian ports. In total, they are carrying over 2.5 million tonnes of grain. The ships are blocked due to the actions of the Russians, who are preventing the grain corridor from operating normally.