(CNN) — Russia says its representatives have not yet taken part in talks on the extension Black Sea Grain AgreementIt is a rare agreement between Russia and Ukraine despite the conflict.
“There are no negotiations on this issue, especially with the participation of Russian representatives,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters.
Reiterating Russian complaints about the deal, Zakharova said “only the Ukrainian side has effectively complied so far, and Russian agricultural exports have been blocked as a result of unilateral Western sanctions.”
Zakharova added that the next round of talks on expanding the initiative on grains from the Black Sea will be held on March 13 in Geneva (Switzerland) between the Russian delegation and representatives of the United Nations.
A little contextGrain exports are very important because of both Ukraine and Russia Major suppliers of food to the world. In normal times, Ukraine — known as one of the planet’s best breadbaskets — exports three-quarters of the grain it produces.
According to data from the European Commission, about 90% of these exports were sent by sea from Ukrainian Black Sea ports.
War and its aftermath therefore have important implications for grain exports, particularly in the Global South, which are heavily dependent on them.
The last time the Black Sea Grain Agreement was extended was last November and the extension was extended for 120 days (i.e. until March 2023).