Report: UN asks Russia to extend ‘grain deal’ in exchange for SWIFT access

13.07.2023, 12:04
Report: UN asks Russia to extend ‘grain deal’ in exchange for SWIFT access - Photo
Photo: EPA

UN secretary general Antonio Guterres has proposed to Russian president Vladimir Putin to extend the Black Sea grain initiative for several months to give the European Union time to connect a subsidiary of a Russian bank to the SWIFT international payment system, Reuters reports.

Mr Guterres on Tuesday sent a letter to Mr Putin proposing a way forward to further facilitate Russian food and fertilizer exports and ensure the continued Black Sea shipments of Ukrainian grain, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

He gave no further details on the proposal but added that the UN was engaged with all relevant parties on the issue and was willing to further discuss his proposal with Russia.

In early July, the EU was reported to be considering allowing Rosselkhozbank [Russian Agricultural Bank], a sanctioned Russian bank, to set up a subsidiary to reconnect to SWIFT, thus safeguarding the threatened ‘grain deal’.

Connecting Rosselkhozbank to SWIFT, from which the bank was cut off under sanctions, is one of Russia’s key demands to salvage the so-called grain corridor.

The Black Sea grain initiative, which allowed for safe passage of agricultural products from three Ukrainian ports, is set to expire on 17 July, and the Kremlin's threats to terminate the deal are believed to be more serious than before.

Moscow has been holding the passage of vessels from the Ukrainian ports of Odesa and Chornomorsk, while the port of Pivdennyi has not been operating for more than two months as the Russians effectively block all ships heading there.

Since early July, only six vessels with 215,000 tonnes of agricultural products have left the Black Sea ports.

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