Russia has threatened to scrap the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which enables the safe export of grain from Ukrainian ports onto the world market.
The threat comes as members of the G-7 group of rich nations are reportedly planning to totally ban exports to Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
The G-7 countries are considering a near total ban on all exports to Russia, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported April 21, citing Japanese government sources. VOA news reported.
‘The G-7 countries have already stopped exporting a wide range of items to Russia, including products that can be used for military purposes and luxury goods. But the latest plan could expand the trade embargo to used cars, tires, cosmetic items and clothing,’ Kyodo reported.
The G-7 includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is due to discuss the grain deal with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York this week.
Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday that if the G7 moved to ban exports to Russia, Moscow would respond by terminating the Black Sea Grain deal that enables vital exports of grain from Ukraine.
The former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, currently deputy chair of Russia’s Security Council, wrote on the social media site Telegram that if the G-7 implements such a ban, Moscow will terminate the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
‘This idea from the idiots at the G-7 about a total ban of exports to our country by default is beautiful in that it implies a reciprocal ban on imports from our country, including categories of goods that are the most sensitive for the G-7. In such a case, the grain deal — and many other things that they need — will end for them,’ Medvedev wrote on Telegram.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, brokered by the U.N. and Turkey last July, enables the vital export of grain from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports onto world markets through the joint inspection of vessels at a facility in Istanbul.
Ukraine is the world’s fifth biggest grain producer, and around 28 million tons have been exported under the deal since July.
Moscow had already indicated it may not renew the grain deal beyond its next expiration on May 18, well before the reports of a G-7 export ban.
The deal is supposed to be renewable every 120 days. At the last renewal in March, Russia agreed to extend the deal for only 60 days.
The U.N. has also urged Russia to extend the deal.
‘Our message is clear: We urge all involved to meet their responsibilities to ensure that vessels continue to move smoothly and safely in the interest of global food security.
‘The positive humanitarian impact all over the world of the initiative is evident and not limited to its exports to specific low-income countries.
‘It’s in everyone’s interest to keep it going and to work within the agreed-to policy procedures,’ Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told reporters on April 12.