The United Nations on Thursday claimed it had made"concrete proposals" to Russia for a safe resumption of grain exports from Ukraine through the Black Sea, following the Kremlin’s move in mid-July to withdraw from a related agreement brokered by the UN and Turkey last year, amid Moscow’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine.
The agreement reached in Istanbul in July 2022 allowed the transportation of Ukrainian wheat and other agricultural products worldwide, including to poor countries in Africa and Asia, with security ensured through a coordination center opened in Istanbul.
UN Secretary General António Guterres on Thursday told reporters he had sent a corresponding letter to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Guterres did not specify the details, but claimed the proposals offered to Russia could create a stable basis for the "Grain Agreement". He had pointed to specific proposals so that food and mineral fertilizers produced by Russia could be sold at an adequate price on the world market.
A representative of the Russian mission to the UN, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the letter sent by Guterres to Lavrov contained nothing new and only summarized previous ideas of the UN that did not work.
After a meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister in Moscow on August 31, Lavrov said Moscow saw no signs of accepting guarantees in exchange for renewing the deal.
Russia's demands include the restoration of the supply of agricultural machinery and its parts, the entry of Russian cargo ships into foreign ports, the unblocking of transport logistics and the return of Rosselkhozbank to the international tax system SWIFT.
International sanctions imposed on Russia for invading Ukraine do not apply to its food and fertilizer exports, although Moscow claims that this was hampered by tax, insurance and logistical restrictions. In turn, Ukraine and Western countries accuse Russia of using food as a weapon.