The Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry has commented on the German newspaper Bild’s report that United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres wrote a secret letter to Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov, offering to help significantly ease anti-Russian sanctions in exchange for Russia’s return to the Black Sea grain deal.
"The position of the Ukrainian side remains unchanged: easing part of the sanctions regime against Russia in exchange for reviving the grain deal will be a victory for Russia’s food blackmail and an invitation to new waves of blackmail from Moscow," the CFTS portal quoted Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko as saying.
According to Nikolenko, the international community should work toward Russia’s return to fulfilling its obligations and not increase its sense of impunity or encourage a new aggression by offering such significant concessions.
"Ukraine, as one of the guarantors of global food security, is ready to continue exporting grain to the world market, particularly to Africa and Asia, both within the framework of the Black Sea Grain Initiative and through alternative routes in the Black Sea and by land," the Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman said.
As reported, Guterres offered Russia the following in exchange for reopening the Black Sea grain corridor:
- lifting the EU sanctions on the Russian Agrarian Bank by allowing RSHB Capital S.A., a newly created subsidiary of the sanctioned Russian bank, to circumvent them by connecting to SWIFT;
- insuring Russian ships against possible Ukrainian attacks in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea;
- unfreezing the assets of Russian fertilizer companies;
- granting Russian ships carrying agricultural products and fertilizers access to EU ports "through fast-track port permits."