MOSCOW, May 18. /TASS/. Russia confirmed the extension of the grain deal through July 17 without any changes, according to a Russian Foreign Ministry statement published on its website on Thursday.
"Due to the expiration of the 60-day extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative for the export of Ukrainian food and in response to requests, primarily from Turkish partners as a party to the agreement, we have confirmed that it will be extended for another two months through July 17, without any changes," the statement said.
"Thus, the agreement will be valid until the end of the 120-day cycle, and overall, exactly one year will elapse after the signing on July 22, 2022 in Istanbul of the package that was proposed by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, which also includes a memorandum between Russia and the UN on the normalization of domestic agricultural exports (designed to last 3 years)," the ministry said.
The ministry also said that Russia’s fundamental assessments of the implementation of the interrelated Istanbul agreements remain unchanged. So far, only the Black Sea Initiative has been implemented, except for ammonia exports, and there has been no specific progress on the Russia-UN memorandum. "There are also clear problems with the stated humanitarian component of the deal, as Ukrainian grain is exported through the maritime corridor mainly to countries with incomes that are high and higher-than-average, including well-fed European markets," the ministry said. "Deliveries of Russian products, even the free transfer of fertilizers to the poorest countries, continue to face blocking influence from illegal unilateral sanctions."
The ministry said that there have been no developments in the resumption of ammonia supplies, which are stipulated in both Istanbul documents.
"In particular, the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline, to which the UN secretary general dedicated his visit to Kiev on March 8, as well as a separate initiative that remains on paper, like the Russia-UN memorandum," the statement said. "In these circumstances, we are again forced to remind, first of all, the US, the EU and the UK, who state their concern about food security, of the need for a real exemption of Russian fertilizers and food from the unilateral sanctions."
The Russian Foreign Ministry has reiterated the five systemic goals that must be achieved as part of the Russia-UN memorandum, where no progress has yet been made. These goals include reconnecting Rosselkhozbank to SWIFT, supplying spare parts, unblocking of transport logistics and insurance, restarting the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline and unfreezing of Russian companies' assets.
"Unless these requirements are met, there can be no talk of expanding the Black Sea initiative in principle, and the agreement itself will be terminated after July 17," the ministry stated.