Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Rosselkhozbank disconnected from SWIFT, operations on grain deal failed
MOSCOW, February 8 – RIA Novosti. Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said that as part of the European Union’s grain agreement, Russia has not fulfilled its promises to lift restrictions on grain and fertilizer exports, or even trial transactions with the remaining Rosselkhozbank, which has been disconnected from SWIFT.
In December, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said that efforts have been made to reconnect Rosselkhozbank to SWIFT, but so far not enough.
“The work is done poorly because while the European Commission has made it clear that the alleged sanctions imposed on Russian agricultural operators do not apply, this applies to transport and production, but they actually left the entire package of sanctions in place. It’s up to the states to apply – or not to apply,” Grushko told reporters. said.
He noted that the promises of the European Union to UN Secretary-General António Guteres, who “actively took part in the implementation of the second part of the Istanbul package”, were not fulfilled in practice.
“This also applies to fertilizers that continue to be found in Western ports. This also applies to insurance, logistics, calls from our ships, service operations of the Russian Rosselkhozbank – disconnected from SWIFT. Even trial operations as far as I know This is also large only in the trade of agricultural products. “Not only does it create barriers, it also worsens the food security situation.”
He stressed that within the framework of the grain agreement, the main amount of grain from Ukrainian ports still “goes to EU countries”.
Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow needs “clear legal exemptions from sanctions” for Russian companies, as well as guarantees for the free entry of Russian ships into European ports and foreign ships into Russian ports. As the Minister pointed out, one of the main problems is the sanction of the Agricultural Bank of Russia, the main financial institution providing Russian fertilizer and grain supply services to world markets.
The grain agreement, signed by Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and UN representatives on July 22, 2022, includes the export of grain, food and fertilizer from Ukraine’s three ports, including Odessa, via the Black Sea. The Joint Coordination Center (JCC) in Istanbul is responsible for coordinating the movement of ships.
The contract expired on November 18, 2022, but included an automatic 120-day extension if neither party objected. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that “no such objection has been received”, while noting that the Russian side has allowed the technical extension of the “Black Sea initiative” for Ukrainian grain exports without any change in terms and scope.
The agreement itself is an integral part of the package agreement, which, among other things, provided for the removal of the barrier to Russia’s exports of food and fertilizers – Moscow noted that it was not fully implemented. At the same time, assurances came from the UN that restrictions would be lifted.
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