The United Nations is discussing bringing some Russian banks back to the SWIFT payment system in order to help keep grain shipments from Ukraine going, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric has said.
When asked during a briefing…if any progress had been made on Russia’s demands regarding the grain agreement, Dujarric said that UN officials were “trying to doggedly move the process forward.”
Moscow warned…that the outlook for extending beyond May 18 the grain deal, which ensures the safe export of grain and fertilizer from several Ukrainian Black Sea ports, was “not good.”
The Kremlin has demanded allowing Russian Agricultural Bank to return to SWIFT, permitting Russia to import agricultural machinery, as well as the removal of insurance restrictions, port access for Russian ships and cargo, and an unblocking of the financial activities of Russian fertilizer companies.
“Obviously, the fact that a number of Russian financial institutions are not, if not all of them, I’m not sure, are not in the SWIFT system makes things more complicated. And we are in discussions with the people who are responsible for SWIFT and the Europeans and others on that,” Dujarric said.
According to him, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has no authority over SWIFT or over the EU member states that imposed anti-Russia sanctions. “He has no authority over insurance companies, shipping companies. He can’t tell them what to do,” the spokesman stressed, adding that “we’re trying to herd a whole group of people.”
While the Western sanctions do not directly target Russian agricultural goods, they affect payments, insurance and shipping. With many Russian banks disconnected from SWIFT, direct settlements for exports have been made difficult…