Cargo ships loaded with grain in the anchorage area of the southern entrance to the Bosphorus in Istanbul on Oct 31, 2022. (PHOTO / AP)
Russia said on Wednesday it would only agree to extend the Black Sea grain deal, which allows grain to be safely exported from Ukrainian ports, if the interests of its own agricultural producers are taken into account.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered by the United Nations and Türkiye last year, expires on March 18 and cannot be extended unless all parties agree. Russia has already signalled it is unhappy with aspects of the deal.
Russia's agricultural exports have not been explicitly targeted by Western sanctions, but Moscow says restrictions on its payments, logistics and insurance industries are a "barrier" to it being able to export its own grains and fertilisers.
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Moscow's foreign ministry said on Wednesday that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had discussed the prospects for renewing the deal at a meeting with his Turkish counterpart on the sidelines of the G20 in New Delhi.
"(The) Russian side stressed that continuing the package agreement on grain is possible only if the interests of Russian agricultural and fertiliser producers in terms of unhindered access to world markets are taken into account," the ministry said in a statement.