Live Updates: Russia’s War in Ukraine
A Russian diplomat has suggested that his country may eventually strike a deal allowing grain exports from Ukraine via the Black Sea, according to Reuters.
“If we see that nothing is happening on the Russian side of the deal – the export of Russian grain and fertilizers – then excuse us, we will have to see it in a different way,” said Gennady Gatilov, ambassador of Russia to the UN in Geneva. told Reuters.
Reuters reported on Thursday that when asked if Russia might walk away from renewing the deal, Gatilov said: “There is a possibility… We are not against grain deliveries, but this deal should be equal, it should be fair and equitably implemented by all parties.”
In July, the UN and Turkey brokered a major deal between Ukraine and Russia that promised to unblock Black Sea ports to allow the safe passage of grains and oilseeds.
However, Moscow reduced its contribution to the initiative earlier this month. In a letter obtained by CNN, Russia said it was reducing the number of inspection teams deployed to a Turkish port where grain vessels are inspected. The letter also stated that the inspectors would finish their working day earlier, as there was currently no lunch hour allowance.
Since July, ships carrying grain from Ukrainian ports have been allowed to navigate a safe corridor through the Black Sea – an agreement that ended a five-month Russian blockade.
The deal is due to expire at the end of November.
Asked about the possibility of a Russian withdrawal on Thursday, the spokesman for the UN Secretary General, Stéphane Dujarric, said that it was “critical for the world” and that good signs were coming out of a Thursday meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“We’re trying to get a little more detail, and we’ll follow that,” Dujarric said.
Victoria Butenko and Andrew Carey of CNN in Kyiv contributed reporting.