Russia Criticizes West's Approach to Deal
While Russia remains in the agreement, they have repeatedly criticized the West's approach to the deal. Russia claims that countries that have imposed sanctions on Moscow need to do more to ease restrictions on Russia's exports, particularly fertilizers.
UN Secretary-General's Humanitarian Initiative
Lavrov referred to the grain deal as the "well-known humanitarian initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General" during a G20 foreign ministers' meeting.
Current Phase of Deal
The current phase of the agreement, brokered by Turkey and the UN, ends on March 18th. It will be extended if no party raises a formal objection. In November, ahead of a previous deadline to extend the deal, Russia escalated its criticism of the deal to get more concessions from the West but ultimately let it roll over for another 120 days.
Russia's Interests in Extension
Russia's foreign ministry recently stated that it would only agree to a second extension of the deal if the interests of its agricultural producers were taken into account. Western sanctions have not explicitly targeted Russia's farm sector. Still, Moscow claims that the sanctions affect payments, shipping, and insurance, posing a "barrier" to its grain and fertilizer exports.