Deputy foreign minister says extension of grain deal depends on ‘tangible progress’ on lifting sanctions on agriculture.

The Russian deputy foreign minister on Friday said Moscow is preparing two shipments of fertilizers to Kenya and Nigeria free of charge.

Speaking to Rossiya 24 TV channel, Sergey Vershinin said Russia wants to send its fertilizers, blocked in the Baltic states, to the countries that need them the most.

Asked about the extension of the Istanbul grain deal, officially known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the diplomat said it depends on achieving “tangible progress” on major problems, which block the access of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers to the world market.

“The conditions for the extension of the transaction are still the reconnection of the Rosselkhoznadzor to SWIFT, the resumption of the supply of spare parts and maintenance of agricultural machinery, reinsurance of agricultural goods and the lifting of the ban on their access to ports, lifting sanctions from Russian companies and their owners who are engaged in the production of food and fertilizers,” he said.

Moscow earlier offered to donate Russian 262,000 tons of fertilizers blocked in the ports of Latvia, Estonia, Belgium, and the Netherlands to poor countries.

The first and only shipment of 20,000 tons was sent from the Netherlands to Malawi.

President Vladimir Putin said last month that leaders of several African countries contacted him regarding the possibility of getting Russian fertilizers.

Russia is the world’s biggest exporter of fertilizers. In March it agreed to a 60-day extension of the grain deal, which was brokered by Türkiye and the UN last July to ship agricultural products from three of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

Russia’s “special military operation” in February last year had blocked the shipments.

Moscow says it may not extend the deal past mid-May unless the West removes the obstacles to the export of its grain and fertilizer.


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