Russia says 96,000 tonnes of donated fertilizers stuck in European ports

red and blue cargo ship on body of water during daytime

Russia said on Sunday that 96,000 tonnes of mineral fertilizers that it donated to developing countries in Africa and Asia are yet to leave ports in Estonia, Latvia, Belgium, and the Netherlands, despite having been dispatched last September.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a press release that – in accordance with a July 2022 deal between Russia and the United Nations that sought to facilitate the normalization of Russian agricultural exports – Moscow opted to send 262,000 tonnes of fertilizers to some of the world’s poorest countries.

The MFA said, however, that so far only two shipments have arrived at their destination: one, weighing 20,000 tonnes, reached Malawi in March; a second, weighing 34,000 tonnes, reached Kenya in May. It added that three more shipments, totaling 112,000 tonnes, and intended for Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Sri Lanka, have stalled – despite having undergone all of the necessary ‘preparatory procedures’.

The ministry asserted that the remaining 96,000 tonnes are being ‘illegally’ held in European ports – and reiterated its claim that Russian agricultural exports, despite being exempt from Western sanctions, continue to face a series of payments-, logistics-, and insurance-related obstacles.

The MFA called on the European states in possession of its fertilizers to release the shipments to their intended recipients forthwith.

While Russia maintains that Western sanctions continue to impede its fertilizer exports, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has stressed that Russia violated the 2022 memorandum of understanding by withdrawing from the Black Sea grain deal in July.

Guterres has also stressed that, prior to the collapse of the grain deal, and in accordance with the MoU, the UN had made considerable progress in normalizing trading conditions.

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