Grain deal extended until July 17 inclusive, no change

(RSHB comment added, general information at the end of the text)

MOSCOW, May 18 (Reuters) – Russia has confirmed the extension of the “Black Sea Initiative” on Ukrainian food exports for another two months until July 17, with no changes to the extension, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.

“At the same time, it should be noted that our fundamental assessments of the implementation of the related Istanbul agreements remain unchanged – for now, only the “Black Sea Initiative” is being implemented, with the exception of ammonia exports. There is no concrete progress on the Russia-UN memorandum,” the report reads.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated five “systemic” tasks that should be resolved as part of the implementation of the Russia-UN Memorandum, and progress is still lacking – reinstatement of Rosselchozbank to SWIFT; delivery of spare parts; unlocking transport logistics and insurance; resuscitation of the Tolyatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline and unfreezing of assets of Russian companies.

“If these requirements are not met, there is basically no question of any extension of the Black Sea Initiative, and the agreement itself will be terminated after July 17,” the ministry said in a statement.

Earlier on Thursday, the Kremlin announced the extension of the grain deal as Moscow obtained a “relative score” of negotiations involving Turkey, Ukraine and the UN.

Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov said that various options are being developed regarding the guarantee for the Russian Agricultural Bank, which regulates settlements under the grain agreement, which will be tantamount to unblocking SWIFT.

“Options are being developed. To date, RSHB is still not connected to SWIFT and we are still working to find a solution to this problem,” said Kirill Levin, first deputy chairman of the board of RSHB, during a teleconference on Thursday.

“Currently, the bank does not conduct international settlements, because the bank does not have SWIFT, i.e. a system for transferring information about the international market. We are disconnected from SWIFT but not under blocking sanctions… We… are looking for options but the main route is SWIFT’s return. (Moscow office)


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