The below is the truth about the Russia - Ukraine United Nations brokered grain deal. It provides details and an account that is wilfully ignored by most western media. It is possible that western governments block access to the official Russian Office of President transcripts, so I provide it here. The link to the original source is at the bottom of the page.

This is the President's summary. There are more details than this available, and the Russian government have provided them publically, but again, they are either not reported, reported in part, salient facts left out, misrepresented, or simply lied about.

I have 'bolded' a few salient points and formatted it slightly to emphasise crucial facts. This 'mark up is absent in the original.

More history is available on my article here.

Meeting with Government members

Vladimir Putin held a videoconference meeting with Government members.
July 19, 2023 20:45
The Kremlin, Moscow

"The deal was made a year ago on July 22, 2022. Then this so-called deal was extended several times, the last time in May, through July 17. We extended this deal many times, and, in doing so, showed miraculous endurance, patience, and tolerance, hoping that our foreign colleagues would finally begin to fully comply with the agreed and approved parameters and conditions.

However, nothing like that happened, and no one was going to fulfill any obligations or agreements, but only constantly demanded something from Russia: to do one thing, then another, to provide this and that. Just outright arrogance and impudence, promises and empty chatter. All they did was compromise themselves with this; they undermined the authority, including the leadership of the UN Secretariat, which actually acted as a guarantor of the grain deal.

I must say that UN employees were sincerely trying to make good on all the promises of the West, but failed.

They did almost nothing for the deal’s proper functioning, while our so-called Western partners put a lot of effort into torpedoing it. They did everything possible for this. Today they are literally lying to the whole world, saying matter-of-factly that Russia is supposedly to blame for the failure of this deal. Moreover, they blame Russia for almost all the disasters befalling the populations of African countries and several others, which the West once robbed and pushed into the abyss of wars, hunger and poverty, and now continues to plunder these states under its neo-colonial system. It profited shamelessly from the grain deal and completely distorted the meaning of these agreements and their essence. Let me remind you that initially the deal was aimed at ensuring global food security, reducing the threat of hunger and helping the poorest countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Actually, that is why Russia assumed certain obligations to facilitate its implementation, but this “deal” which the West was publicly presenting as them caring about the benefit to the poorest countries, was in fact used to enrich large American and European businesses that exported and resold grain from Ukraine.

Look, over the course of almost a year 32.8 million tonnes of grain were exported from Ukraine in total under this deal, 70 percent of which arrived in rich countries, above all countries of the European Union, while such countries as Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Yemen – the poorest ones – received less than three percent of the total volume, or less than one million tonnes.

At the same time, none of the deal’s conditions regarding the lifting of sanctions on Russian exports of grain and fertilisers to global markets have been fulfilled.

Moreover, obstacles are created even to our donations of mineral fertilisers to the poorest countries in need. Out of the 262,000 tonnes of fertilisers blocked in European ports, only two batches were sent: 20,000 tonnes to Malawi and 34,000 tonnes to Kenya. The rest remains in the Europeans’ unscrupulous hands, despite the fact that we are talking about a purely humanitarian action, to which no sanctions should apply in principle.

I will add one more thing. Some European countries that pay lip service to the necessity to give Ukraine the opportunity to export agricultural products, prohibit, and I want to emphasise this, the import of Ukrainian grain on their territory, citing the interests of their own producers.

Let me repeat that Russia, understanding the importance of global supplies of food and fertilisers, especially to the poorest countries, extended the deal several times, while Western countries used any pretext, or no pretext at all, to refuse to fulfill their obligations, including removing barriers to our agricultural exports.

This resulted in direct losses of Russian farmers and enterprises producing fertilisers. Now the Minister said that, due to a 30–40 percent discount on our grain on the world markets, the losses of Russian farmers, if converted into US dollars, amounted to $1.2 billion.

In addition to this, the growing costs of seagoing freight to carry goods, costs of international financial settlements and other transactions have resulted in the halving of profitability for grain exports. Our fertiliser producers have also faced a similar problem: their losses are about $1.6 billion. For example, the cost of imported spare parts for their equipment and equipment in general increased by 40 percent, and costs for financial transactions grew by about 10 percent.

I will add a few more figures to make it clear. Ukraine produced about 55 million tonnes of grain last year, and its exports amounted to 47 million tonnes, including 17 million tonnes of wheat, while Russia harvested 156 million tonnes of grain last year and exported 60 million tonnes, of which 48 million tonnes were wheat.

Russia’s share on the global wheat market is 20 percent, while that of Ukraine is less than 5 percent. These figures speak for themselves:

it is Russia that makes a colossal contribution to global food security; and

all claims that Ukrainian grain feeds the hungry around the world are speculation and lies.

I would like to assure you that Russia is able to replace Ukrainian grain both on a commercial and free basis, especially since this year we again expect a record harvest, as the Minister reported.

Given all the factors I mentioned earlier today, it makes no sense to extend the grain deal the way it was. That is why we have objected to extending this so-called deal further. The deal expired on July 18.

I would like to emphasise that we are not against the deal per se, all the more so if we consider its importance for the global food market and for many countries of the world, and we will certainly consider the possibility of resuming our participation in it, only on the condition that all, without exception, principles of Russia’s involvement in this deal that had been earlier agreed are fully taken into account and, most importantly, are acted on.

I will remind you of the details.

First, there is lifting the sanctions on supplying Russian grain and fertilisers to world markets.

Second, all obstacles put in the way of Russian banks, financial institutions which service food and fertiliser supplies must be removed, including their immediate reconnection to SWIFT. We do not need promises or ideas regarding this; we want this condition to be met.

Third, supplies of spare parts for agricultural machinery and the fertiliser industry to Russia must be resumed.

Next, all issues relating to ship chartering and insurance of Russian food export deliveries must be resolved and food supply logistics must be ensured in full.

Next, conditions that do not hinder the growth of supplies of Russian fertilisers and the raw materials for their production must be created, such as resuming the operation of the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline, which was clearly blown up and destroyed on the Kiev regime’s order. Actually, this act of sabotage has received no response from the international community or from the UN.

Russian assets related to the agricultural sector must be released.

I will not list all the terms under which our country agreed to take part in this grain deal – they are specified, in particular, in the relevant Russia-UN Memorandum. You can read it to learn more about them. Most importantly, our Western colleagues must deliver on them.

The only thing I want to note again is that, initially, the essence and the meaning of the grain deal were of great humanitarian importance. The West has completely nullified and distorted this meaning. Instead of providing aid to the countries which really need it, the West has used the grain deal for political blackmail and, in addition, as I already said, has made it a tool that allowed transnational corporations of speculators in the global grain market to enrich themselves.

Finally, Russia’s basic conditions for resuming its involvement in the grain deal include restoring its initial humanitarian purpose. As soon as all of these conditions that we agreed earlier – I did not invent them just now – are fulfilled, we will promptly resume our participation in this deal."

Source: Official Transcript 

4 August 2023

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s reply to a media question regarding the US Secretary of State’s statement on the Black Sea Initiative


The US Secretary of State again urged Russia to restore the Black Sea Initiative on the export of Ukrainian food and solemnly repeated that Russian fertilisers and agricultural products are not under the sanctions. Can you comment on his statement?

Maria Zakharova Russia's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman:
Indeed, in the past few days we have been hearing more statements and loud talk as regards global food security and the alleged key role of the Black Sea Initiative in this issue. The Western capitals are again and again hurling accusations at Russia for suspending the initiative, which in fact became a commercial project to get more money for Ukraine.

The real state of affairs is hushed up. They do not mention that Ukrainian grain, primarily fodder grain, was mostly sent to well-fed Europe. Nor do they admit that the Kiev regime was using the maritime humanitarian Odessa-Istanbul corridor for terrorist attacks against Sevastopol, the Crimean Bridge and Russian vessels. They are also silent about the systematic blocking of Russian agricultural exports with the illegal unilateral sanctions, which is why the UN-Russia Memorandum never worked.

In this context and in reply to statements by Washington and other Western capitals, we would like to say that enough is enough. Enough of the hypocrisy, lies and distortion of facts, which are stubborn things, as everyone knows.

During the year the Black Sea Initiative was implemented, about 33 million tonnes of grain, including a mere 8.8 million tonnes of wheat, were exported from the ports of Odessa, Chernomorsk and Yuzhny. That said, global grain exports were 422.4 million tonnes overall, including 205.6 million tonnes of wheat.

Ukraine’s share is obviously small, but it is still presented as “saving the world from hunger.”

The Westerners continue talking about a reduction in global grain prices. They don’t mention that prices went down from the peak numbers of March 2022, before the Black Sea Initiative was initiated, and are now at a stable low level.

Indicatively, the West believes that a de facto ban on the export of Russian and Belarusian mineral fertilisers, which led to their physical shortage, does not have any impact on the prices. And apparently, they don’t care about the up to 45 million people that could have been fed with food produced with Russian ammonia fertilisers if the Ukrainians had first not stopped and then later detonated altogether the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline.   

Nor do the Western capitals comment on their refusal to unblock Russian fertilisers for free transfer to the poorest countries. Instead, they try to play down Russian humanitarian wheat supplies to the needy African countries. People at the UN Secretariat have even coined telling definitions – “a handful of donations” and a “poisoned gift.”

These examples and rhetoric are further indications of the commercial and limited nature of the Black Sea Initiative.

They also reveal the true attitude to the Russia-UN Memorandum on normalising Russian agricultural exports. Lack of progress in its implementation has become one of the main reasons for stopping Ukrainian sea traffic.

In these conditions, our position remains the same, and we have expressed it many times:

first, they need to resolve the system-related hurdles (reconnecting Rosselkhozbank to SWIFT; resuming parts supplies, reestablishing transport logistics and insurance coverage; and restoring Russian companies’ access to their foreign assets).

Unfortunately, it is pointless to talk about the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline. Only after all this is done will it be possible to consider the resumption of the Black Sea Initiative with the announced humanitarian goals.

There have been no positive changes so far.

The Western capitals and the UN tried to present the direct channel established between Rosselkhozbank and American JP Morgan as an alternative to SWIFT, but even this channel was cut off on August 2.