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Russian ambassador tells US to remove sanctions barriers to restore Black Sea grain deal

Russian ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov. (File photo by TASS)

Russian ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov has reiterated that if the United States truly wants to restore the Black Sea grain initiative it should remove the sanctions against Moscow.

The door to restoring the Black Sea grain initiative is open, Antonov said on Saturday, adding, that the United States should switch to actually removing the sanctions barriers, and not duplicate empty insinuations.

In July, Russia withdrew from the deal, which had been brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, blaming Kiev's attack on a Russian base in the Black Sea for the move.

Antonov said that he recalled that the international grain negotiations and the eventual agreements included "not only the "Ukrainian" part, but also the no less important Memorandum of Understanding between the Russian Federation and the Secretariat of the United Nations on promoting Russian food products and fertilizers to the world markets."

"Local officials, engaged in myth-making, are once again shifting from a sick head to a healthy one. Russia has repeatedly, primarily at the highest level, emphasized that the door to restoring the work of the 'Black Sea Initiative' remains open. It is only necessary to ensure the legitimate demands of the Russian Side for strict implementation of the interconnected Istanbul agreements," the diplomat said as quoted in the embassy’s Telegram Channel.

Earlier, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that the United States now does not see the possibility of a prompt return to the Black Sea grain deal, as Moscow is changing its requirements in this area.

According to Sullivan, this indicates a "basic lack of willingness on their part to allow grain to flow freely" to world markets.

"The White House, if it really cares for the interests of those in need, should have long ago moved from duplicating empty insinuations to actually removing sanction barriers," Antonov noted.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already pointed out that Moscow is ready to return to the deal if the West meets its obligations with regard to the nation's own grain exports.

Russia and Ukraine are two of the world's key agricultural producers. The two are influential players in the wheat, barley, maize, rapeseed, rapeseed oil, sunflower seed, and sunflower oil markets.

More than 24.1 million tons have been exported under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, according to the United Nations.

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