Ukraine has demanded guarantees from Moscow and the United Nations that the agreement on the safe export of Black Sea grain will work properly if Kyiv allows the transit of Russian ammonia through Ukrainian territory, a Ukrainian official said on Tuesday.
Last July, the UN and Turkey brokered the Black Sea Grain Initiative between Moscow and Kyiv to help tackle the global food crisis, exacerbated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the world's leading grain exporter.
This month, Russia agreed to a two-month extension of the agreement, but said the initiative would be terminated if the deal, aimed at overcoming obstacles to Russian grain and fertilizer exports, is not implemented.
The demands put forward by Moscow include the resumption of ammonia transit from Russia through Ukraine to Odesa's Yuzhny port, from where it is exported. The transit of ammonia, an important component of nitrogen fertilizers, was halted by the pipeline after the Russian invasion.
"If this (ammonia) is a key issue, then they, the UN, should clearly say that if the ammonia pipeline resumes operation, Ukraine will have such opportunities (to export grain in a normal mode), and then our top political leadership will decide whether it is in our interests or not," Yuriy Vaskov, Ukraine's deputy minister of renewal, told a grain conference.
The grain deal has not yet resumed full operation since its extension, and no ships have been allowed to enter Pivdennyi port since April 29, the UN said last week.
The Russian part of the deal also includes reconnecting Rosselkhozbank to the SWIFT international payment system.
Background. As a reminder, the Ministry of Infrastructure has confirmed that Russia has not allowed ships to enter the Pivdennyi port through the grain corridor for a month.