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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Rejects UN Secretary-General’s Unrealistic Proposal to Revive Black Sea Grains Initiative

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Russian Foreign Minister Criticizes UN Secretary-General’s Proposals

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed skepticism towards UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ proposals to revive the Black Sea Grains Initiative, deeming them “simply unrealistic.” Speaking at the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, Lavrov acknowledged that while Russia does not reject the proposals, they are not feasible on their own.

Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine and Black Sea Ports Blockade

In February 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which included imposing a naval blockade on Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. To address this issue, the United Nations and Turkey negotiated an international agreement allowing Ukrainian agricultural exports to access global markets through three ports. However, Moscow refused to extend the agreement in July.

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Russia’s Complaints about the Original Agreement

The initial agreement between Russia and Ukraine also aimed to facilitate the export of Russian food products and fertilizers. However, Moscow repeatedly complained that this aspect of the agreement was not being respected. Lavrov reaffirmed these concerns in his speech, emphasizing Russia’s dissatisfaction with the agreement’s implementation.

Guterres’ Attempts to Revive the Deal

In an effort to revive the deal, Secretary-General Guterres proposed concessions to Russia. He suggested the creation of a subsidiary of the Agricultural Bank of Russia for specific payments, which could potentially reconnect Moscow to the international payments system SWIFT. Guterres also discussed unfreezing frozen assets of fertilizer companies in Europe and allowing Russian ships to enter European ports.

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