Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated why he is dissatisfied with the UN-brokered grain deal as it’s being implemented in practice. “Probably, for the guys who are fighting, it’s not clear why we are letting the grain through. I understand,” Putin told journalists while explaining that the deal asymmetrically benefits Ukraine and its ability to keep selling primarily to Europe. “We do it not for Ukraine, but for the friendly countries in Africa and Latin America. Because grain should go first and foremost to the poorest countries in the world.” He additionally said last Friday, “the supply of Ukrainian grain to world markets doesn’t solve the problems of African countries in need of food.”
In new comments, Putin’s press spokesman Dmitry Peskov followed up on Sunday by saying at this point the deal which allowed Ukrainian grain to be exported through the Black Sea has “no chance” of being extended.
He asserted that Russia has “shown goodwill several times, made concessions” and allowed the agreement to be extended. But what Moscow was promised in return still hasn’t been fulfilled, said Peskov.
“It’s hardly possible to predict some sort of a final decision here, but we can only state that – judging de facto by the status that we now have – this deal has no chance,” he said according to state media.
“The deal implies deeds; deeds on the part of the contracting states or organizations. And one part of this deal was done, and the second part, which related to [promises made to] Russia, was never done,” he continued.
The current extension of the deal is set to expire in just under a month, on July 17.
The UN/Turkey-brokered grain deal’s collapse would have immediate impact on the food security of literally tens of millions of people globally, but most especially in already struggling regions of North Africa and the Middle East. The UN has described the Black Sea Grain Initiative as “critical” to helping “stave off famine.”
But Putin’s complaint all along has been that grain hasn’t ultimately been going to regions most in need (in Africa and Middle East), but instead has been shipped to wealthier countries in Europe.