UN, Moscow discuss Russian grain, fertilizer exports



Senior United Nations (UN) and Russian officials met in Geneva on Wednesday to discuss Russian complaints that Western sanctions were impeding its grain and fertilizer exports despite a UN-brokered deal to boost Russian and Ukrainian shipments of the commodities.

The UN, Türkiye, Ukraine and Russia agreed on July 22 on what was described by UN chief Antonio Guterres as a package deal to restart Ukraine's Black Sea grain and fertilizer exports and facilitate Russian shipments.

Senior UN trade official Rebeca Grynspan met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin for a "positive" discussion in Geneva on Wednesday, said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

"The discussions are going on in a very constructive, professional level," he said. "The challenges are fairly clear, but I'm not going to get into the detail of what has been discussed around that table."

Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, on Tuesday called for the removal of "logistic sanctions that prevent the free access of Russian grain and fertilizers to world markets."

Moscow's complaints come ahead of likely discussions aimed at extending the initial 120-day deal allowing Ukraine's Black Sea exports.

The aim of the package agreement was to help ease a global food crisis that the UN says was worsened by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and pushed tens of millions more people into hunger. Ukraine and Russia are both major wheat exporters.