The foreign minister says the UN has assured him that steps are being taken to remove the obstacles © Sputnik / Konstantin Mikhalchevsky
The UN has assured Moscow that steps are being taken to lift restrictions blocking Russian grain exports, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters at a press conference on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on Saturday.
“In the part of the July 22 agreements that concern Russian grain, the UN Secretary General pledged to persuade the EU and the US to remove these obstacles. I met with him the day before yesterday, and he confirmed that there’s still much work ahead to be done… but some promises are being made in that regard,” Lavrov said, adding that “everything is in the hands of the hegemons, who are trying to put responsibility on us.”
In late July, Moscow and Kiev signed a deal at UN-brokered talks in Istanbul to unblock Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea. The agreement included assurances to allow Russia to export fertilizers and grain to global markets. Although Russian farm products are not directly targeted by sanctions, certain restrictions regarding payments, shipping, and insurance prevent Russian ships from delivering the products. Lavrov said that 300,000 tons of Russian farm products are currently locked in European ports.
Responding to a question regarding earlier claims that the goods that left Ukraine under the July deal have primarily been exported to the EU rather than developing countries, Lavrov said he was assured by Brussels that shipments will soon be redirected to Africa.
“The Europeans, whose attention we have drawn to the fact that almost half [of the grain] goes to them, told us that they will be redirecting this grain to Africa, among other countries,” he stated.
Speaking at the UNGA on Saturday, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said that about 50,000 tons of Ukrainian wheat which had been partially financed by Sweden will soon be shipped to Yemen as part of the grain deal.
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