Lavrov: Exports will continue even if the Black Sea Grain Initiative ends

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made evaluations on current issues at a press conference held via video conference.

Stating that if the Black Sea Grain Initiative ends, Russia’s exports of agricultural products will not suffer, Lavrov said, “In any case, our fertilizer and food exports continue. I am sure that our partners will not be harmed.”

Minister Lavrov said that the part of the grain initiative that concerns Ukraine’s grain exports has gained a commercial character and that “slightly more than 2.5 percent of the grain is exported to the poorest countries, and that in case of annulment of the agreement, Russia will be able to cover the costs in a similar or larger amount to the poorest countries. He stated that he will ensure that the grain is supplied free of charge.

“I don’t understand what the argument is for those who want to continue this Black Sea agreement, because as I said, when it comes to Ukrainian grain, this agreement became commercial a long time ago,” Lavrov said.

Emphasizing that Russia’s Northern Sea Route is a national route, Lavrov said that most of this route is in Russian territorial waters, so they are responsible for security.

Lavrov stated that they are actively working to expand the opportunities of this route.

Pointing out that Russia’s relations with African countries have reached the final stage in preparations for the Russia-Africa summit, Lavrov said, “A major declaration is being prepared on the interaction plans between Russia and African countries in the next few years.”

Minister Lavrov noted that the Russian security company Wagner’s presence in Africa is directly subject to the contracts signed by African countries with the company, and said that the governments of these countries will decide whether to continue this cooperation or not.

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