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Russia Accuses West of Burying Black Sea Grain Deal

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently accused the West of "shamelessly burying" the Black Sea grain initiative. This initiative was designed to facilitate exporting of Ukraine's agricultural products from its southern ports.

Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister
Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister

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.