The deal allowing Ukrainian grain to be exported via the Black Sea has “no chance” of being extended, after it lapses in mid July, as things stand at the moment, a top Russian official said on Sunday.
Russia has “shown goodwill several times, made concessions” and extended the agreement, but what was promised to Moscow as part of the deal still hasn’t been fulfilled, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with Izvestia newspaper, RT reported.
“It’s hardly possible to predict some sort of a final decision here, but we can only state that – judging de facto by the status that we now have – this deal has no chance.
“The deal implies deeds; deeds on the part of the contracting states or organisations. And one part of this deal was done, and the second part, which related to (promises made to) Russia, was never done,” he contended.
The deal, brokered by the UN and Turkey, was signed in July 2022 and provided for the safe shipment of Ukrainian grain though Black Sea corridors in exchange for the US and EU removing obstacles to exports of Russian food products and fertilisers. The West has claimed that it never restricted those items, but Moscow has argued that it still couldn’t supply them to foreign buyers due to shipping, insurance and brokerage sanctions, which were imposed on Moscow over its conflict with Kiev.
The initial agreement lasted for 120 days, but was extended several times since then. It’s now set to expire on July 17.
Speaking to a delegation of African leaders in St. Petersburg on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that “the supply of Ukrainian grain to world markets doesn’t solve the problems of African countries in need of food”.
Despite the West promising that the deal would help the poorest nations, only 3.1 per cent of the shipments of Ukrainian grain have ended up in Africa, with 38.9 per cent of them going to the EU, he said.
Earlier this week, Putin said Moscow “was thinking about exiting this grain deal” because nothing had been done to facilitate Russia’s food and fertiliser exports. He also said safety corridors in the Black Sea had been used by Ukraine to launch naval drones.