A farmer and member of the AgroUnia union inspects unsold corn grain stores on a farm in Sedziejowo, Poland, on Monday, April 17, 2023.
Bartek Sadowski | Bloomberg | Getty Images
UNITED NATIONS – The basic food security of tens of millions across the globe is hanging by a thread as Russia mulls whether it will preserve a deal that has permitted Ukrainian grain to move through the Black Sea.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday renewed threats of abandoning the Black Sea Grain Initiative, an agreement that allows the safe wartime export of agricultural products from besieged Ukrainian ports.
Lavrov told reporters at the U.N. that one of Moscow’s demands is for the Russian Agricultural Bank, or Rosselkhozbank, to return to the SWIFT banking system.
Two days after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the U.S., European allies and Canada moved to block key Russian banks from the interbank messaging system, SWIFT.
Moscow’s exclusion from SWIFT, which stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, severed the country from much of the global financial system.
Lavrov also said that the deal is currently one-sided since Russian fertilizers have not been able to transit the same way Ukrainian grain has.
“It was not called the grain deal it was called the Black Sea Initiative and in the text itself the agreement stated that this applies to the expansion of opportunities to export grain and fertilizer,” Lavrov told reporters during a press conference.
“That’s not the deal we agreed to on July 22,” he added. Lavrov said there are dozens of Russian cargo vessels carrying some 200,000 tons of fertilizer stuck at European ports.
Ships, including those carrying grain from Ukraine and awaiting inspections, are seen anchored off the Istanbul coastline on November 02, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey.
Chris Mcgrath | Getty Images