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22 Dec, 2022 12:05

Grain deal only works for EU – Russian deputy PM

The vast majority of shipments cleared under the agreement have been destined for the bloc, Victoria Abramchenko said
Grain deal only works for EU – Russian deputy PM

A total of 561 vessels have sailed under the so-called grain deal as of mid-December, but nearly all of them have ended up going to the EU, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Victoria Abramchenko stated during an interview with NTV on Thursday. 

She explained that a total of 6.4 million tons of grain have been exported to the bloc, of which 43% was corn and 29% wheat. 

“As the president [Vladimir Putin] said, the deal is currently being implemented unilaterally in the interests of the European Union," Abramchenko stressed. 

According to the deputy PM, Türkiye, which helped broker the deal, was in second place in terms of deliveries, having received a total of 2.5 million tons of grain, a figure significantly below what the EU has obtained. 

Last week, Russia suggested that the grain deal with Ukraine should be adjusted because the bulk of the shipments have not been reaching the poorest countries, which was the whole point of the UN- and Türkiye-brokered agreement signed back in July. The deal was meant to unlock agricultural exports via the Black Sea from Russia and Ukraine amid the ongoing military conflict between Moscow and Kiev. 

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin stated that Ukrainian grain was not currently going to the nations that need it the most, but “primarily to quite developed and well-off countries.” He stressed that the deal was initially signed “under the slogan of ensuring food security, first of all, in the poorest countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.” 

Russian officials have repeatedly voiced concerns that the grain deal is not meeting its stated goals, and have also insisted that the provisions on lifting the restrictions on Russian agricultural exports were not being fulfilled. 

In late October, Russia suspended its participation in the agreement for a short time after Kiev launched drone attacks on ships involved in securing safe passage for agricultural cargo. Russia ultimately returned to the accord after receiving security guarantees from Ukraine. Last month, Moscow allowed “a technical prolongation” of the deal.