President Zelensky: Black Sea grain corridor can operate without Russia's participation

Ukrinform Ukrainian multimedia platform for broadcasting - 7/17/2023 1:25:00 PM

Making statements on withdrawal from the grain deal, Russia breaks its agreements with Türkiye and the UN. Ukraine does not have any agreements with the Russian Federation.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said this in an interview with African media, quotes from which were published by President's press secretary Serhiy Nykyforov on Facebook.

"We had two agreements: Ukraine, Türkiye, UN, and another agreement - Russia, Türkiye, UN. Therefore, when Russia says that it stops [its participation in the grain deal], it breaks its agreements with UN Secretary-General Guterres and President Erdogan. Not with us. We did not have any agreements with them," Zelensky said.

The President also ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after the official signal of the Russian Federation, to prepare Ukrainian official signals to the United Nations and to Türkiye so that they answer whether they are ready to continue the grain initiative.

At the same time, he noted that the Black Sea grain corridor can operate even without the participation of the Russians in the agreements.

"Even without the Russian Federation, everything must be done so that we can use this Black Sea corridor. We are not afraid. The companies that own ships addressed us. They say that they are ready, if Ukraine allows them to go and Türkiye allows them to pass, then everyone is ready to continue supplying grain," press secretary Serhiy Nykyforov quotes Zelensky as saying.

Nykyforov also noted that the full interview of the Head of State would be published later.

As reported, Russia announced the termination of the extension of the grain deal.

The agreements were concluded on July 22, 2022 in Istanbul for 120 days and were extended several times.

Russia announces termination of grain deal (updated)17.07.2023 13:40
On Monday, the Russian side sent its objections to the extension of the grain deal to Türkiye, Ukraine, and the UN and de facto suspended it.
According to Ukrinform, Interfax reported this with reference to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

"Russia today officially notified the Turkish and Ukrainian sides, as well as the UN Secretariat, of its objections to the agreement's extension," Zakharova said.
According to her, "a statement from the Foreign Ministry with detailed explanations of the Russian position will be published soon."

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed the termination of the grain deal. He reminded that de facto "the Black Sea agreements have ceased to be in force today" and then passed on the Russian president's argument. Namely, "the part of these Black Sea agreements that concerns Russia has not been fulfilled so far, so it is terminated." "As soon as the Russian part of the agreements is fulfilled, the Russian side will return to the implementation of this agreement, immediately," Peskov told reporters.

As reported the day before, the last vessel under the UN-brokered agreement allowing the safe export of Ukrainian grain to the Black Sea left the port of Odesa on Sunday morning before the agreement's July 17 deadline.

The Black Sea Grain Agreement was signed in July 2022. Two documents were signed for this purpose: one with the participation of the UN, Türkiye, and Ukraine, and a separate one by the UN, Türkiye, and Russia.

Putin has repeatedly threatened not to extend the agreement, demanding the lifting of sanctions and obstacles to Russian exports.

Moscow's main demand was to restore Russian Agricultural Bank's access to the SWIFT international interbank network, from which the EU expelled Russia in June 2022 for Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The EU is considering connecting Russian Agricultural Bank's subsidiary to SWIFT, which would allow for grain and fertilizer transactions.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that last week UN Secretary General António Guterres sent a letter to Putin. In the letter, Guterres suggested that Moscow extend the agreement for several months to give the EU time to connect the subsidiary of Russian Agricultural Bank to SWIFT.