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Minister Vershinin Gives Some Facts on Black Sea and Grain

July 21, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin gave a press briefing today on the Black Sea Grain Initiative, pointing to the reality of what is likely to happen next, following Russia’s July 17 suspension of its participation in the Initiative. Many of his remarks were covered in a series of news items by TASS. The video of Vershinin’s hour-long briefing was also posted to the Ministry’s Twitter page with English translation.

Vershinin referred to Türkiye, through whose offices the Initiative was negotiated a year ago. “We have very close interactions with Türkiye, traditional interactions,” he said. “We are also in contact with them now and are exchanging [proposals] about what to do in the current situation.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed the same thing today, in remarks to the media.

Vershinin also spoke about what follows, according to Russia’s current policy. Referring to Russian grain and fertilizer export, he said:

“It continues but they are not the subject matter of the Black Sea Initiative. It should be understood Russian grain was not exported via the international humanitarian corridor; this referred to the Ukrainian grain only. Therefore, Russian exports of grain that have huge potential—our harvest is excellent for two years in a row—and fertilizers, is to continue and will continue,”

he said. “We are holding contacts, negotiations, making deals; this process continues.”

He also addressed Africa:

“Concerning the access to African nations, we have very serious contacts with African states in terms of supplies of Russian cargo, including Russian grain. We understand concerns that may arise with our African friends. I want to say these concerns are not merely clear but will be fully addressed,”

Vershinin said.

“As regards grain supplies, I have just mentioned the figure slightly above 900,000 metric tons for the most needy countries.... Communications are certainly underway, efforts are being made for the African countries not to experience any adverse consequences in this case.”

As Russia’s First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy had also said at the UN Security Council session this morning, Vershinin emphasized that double standards should be condemned. Vershinin pointed out that the terrorist attacks on Crimea, the Kerch Bridge, Sevastopol, and the sabotage of the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline had yielded no response from the UN Secretariat so far. “And this [ammonia pipeline] is also food security, and may be even more important than grain, as we are talking about ammonia.

“This ammonia pipeline can supply 2 million tons of ammonia. That makes a lot of fertilizer,” he said.

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