Moscow is seeing "virtually no results" from the UN pact, which was meant to help Russian grain and fertilizer exports, and accused Western countries of creating an impasse, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday

Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov is a Russian diplomat who has been the Minister of Foreign Affairs since 2004, Reuters reported.

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Russia has signaled that unless a list of demands to remove obstacles to those exports is met, it will not agree to an extension beyond May 18 of a related agreement that allows for safe grain exports from Ukraine's Black Sea ports.

In a letter to Putin, Guterres offers ways to extend the grain deal with Ukraine

At a press conference at the United Nations in New York, Lavrov praised the work of UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, Martin Griffiths, in their efforts "to reach an agreement with the countries that announced illegitimate sanctions against the Russian Federation."

"But there is practically no result," Lavrov said. 

In July last year, Russia signed a three-year agreement in which the UN agreed to help try to remove all obstacles to Russian grain and fertilizer exports.

While those exports are not subject to Western sanctions imposed after the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Moscow says restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance are a hindrance to supplies.

Russia gains nothing from the Black Sea grain deal

One of Russia's demands is for the Russian Agricultural Bank (Rosselkhozbank) to return to the SWIFT banking system.

Lavrov has said there are no plans for that to happen, and as an alternative, Guterres has suggested that US banks help the Russian Agricultural Bank with the transactions.

The Russian foreign minister said a bank had "kindly agreed to finance an operation" but it was not a long-term solution.

"If you want every time we and the Secretary General of the United Nations are running back and forth, asking a certain financial structure of the United States to be generous, then you understand that it cannot work and it will not work," he said.

A source familiar with the transaction said the US State Department and the US Treasury have asked JPMorgan Chase & Co to carry out a "very limited and highly controlled" transaction in connection with the export of agricultural materials , which took place this month, adds BTA.

Russian invasion of Ukraine

Sergey Lavrov