Chancellor Scholz says Moscow is not extending grain deal, although proposed rules allow Russia to export its own grain and fertilizers, receive payments
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz sharply criticized Russia on Tuesday for not responding positively to the efforts to revive the Black Sea grain deal, and said they are also weighing other options, such as transporting grains via rail from Ukraine.
Speaking at an international conference in Berlin, Scholz said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s arguments for not extending the grain deal were unfounded, and Moscow’s withdrawal has put countries at risk of increased food insecurity.
“With our efforts to restore to restore the Black Sea Grain Initiative, we wanted to ensure that Russia will not bomb grain ships, will not sink these ships. That is what is all about. And it is very bitter that currently we cannot ensure this, although there are no reasons for Moscow’s withdrawal,” Scholz said.
He underlined that Western sanctions against Russia do not target the country’s agriculture or food sectors.
“Contrary to what is sometimes said by the Russian government, there are no sanctions against Russian grain, there are no sanctions against fertilizers from Russia, there is no ban on chartering and procuring ships with grain, so they can be transported all over the world,” he said.
Referring to the UN’s efforts to facilitate the grain deal, Scholz pointed out that there have been proposals setting clear rules, enabling Russia to receive payments for its grain and fertilizer exports.
“Nevertheless, the Russian president has now stopped this and, as always, he is trying to use his power to achieve something,” Scholz said.
He underlined that Germany and its partners will continue their efforts for global food security.
“We will also explore options to transport grain via road and rail in Europe. That would be more difficult, but we can still achieve a lot,” he added.
Russia refused to extend the grain deal in July, complaining that the West has not met its obligations, and that there were still restrictions on its own food and fertilizer exports. Moscow particularly criticized the restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance.
The grain deal was brokered by the UN and Türkiye last year, and it enabled Ukraine to ship grain via the Black Sea, and succeeded in bringing down global food prices.