Official says Russia wants no disruption of global food security efforts

Russia's deputy foreign minister signals deal allowing Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea may be rolled over
calendar icon 16 November 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

Editor's note: this content was produced in Russia where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine

Russia wants no disruption of global food security efforts, Russia's deputy foreign minister said in an interview with the Izvestia daily, signalling that a deal allowing Ukraine to export grain via the Black Sea could be rolled over smoothly, according to a Reuters.

The deal is due to roll over on Nov. 19 unless there are objections. Moscow has said its agreement depends on provisions to ensure it can export its own grain and fertiliser despite the obstacles created by Western sanctions. 

"We are people for whom the humanitarian dimension of the issue is not an empty word," Sergei Vershinin was quoted as saying in the interview released by Izvestia early on Wednesday.

Both Ukraine and Russia are major global grain exporters. Russia is the world's largest wheat exporter and a major supplier of fertilisers, crop and soil nutrients, to global markets.

If Western statements about exemptions from sanctions for Russia's food exports are put into practice, "everything would continue on normal terms" for the Black Sea grain deal, he said.

When asked if Russia would support Turkey's recent proposal to remove a time-frame from the deal, he said that the current duration period - 120-days - seems "justified."

Vershinin also said that the state lender Rosselkhozbank, which has been a main part of Russia's demands in the topic, was ready to provide guarantees for dealing with food and fertiliser transactions only if its access to the international SWIFT bank payments system was restored, Izvestia said.

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