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US diplomat Bryza explains what Russia, Turkey are hiding behind grain deal

16 September, 2023 Saturday
17:37

Former US Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza said that the grain deal is a cover for an agreement between Turkey, Russia and Bulgaria to transport more Russian gas

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He said this in the program Studio West with Antin Borkovsky program on Espreso TV channel.

"President Erdogan has expressed confidence that an agreement could be close, but he's also pressing that Russia be allowed to export or at least that it's Agricultural Bank be reconnected to the Swift system and that there be insurance for ships to move Russian agricultural products through the Black Sea. I think what Russia really wants is to move its ammonia through the pipeline that comes to Ukraine. Russia's just looking for any excuse to try to weaken the sanctions regime, and so far the United States and its allies have not agreed to do that," emphasized Bryza.

According to the diplomat, the European Commission is only preparing to conduct an investigation into the transportation of larger volumes of Russian gas under the Black Sea through the Turkish Stream.

"The grain deal is kind of a cover for a deal beneath the surface between Turkey, Russia and Bulgaria to move more Russian gas under the Black Sea via the Turk stream pipeline and then across Bulgaria, across the so-called Balkan stream to Serbia and to Hungary. This is all being done very quietly and in violation of EU regulations, and I believe the European Commission is about to investigate that," Bryza emphasized.

Some details on the work of the "grain corridor"

On 17 July, Russia announced the termination of the grain deal. In response, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that it was necessary to continue using the grain corridor even despite Russia's withdrawal from the agreement. And Kuleba began urgent consultations at the UN.

On August 4, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov said that Ukraine would send ships with its own grain to wherever it deems necessary and would not ask anyone for permission.

On August 12, Ukraine opened registration of merchant ships and their owners who are ready to use temporary routes to Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea.

On August 16, the first vessel left the port of Odesa after Russia announced that it will terminate the grain deal on July 16, 2023.

On August 25, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan. The politicians discussed, among other things, the grain deal. Fidan said that Ankara sees "no alternative" to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the original grain deal that Ukraine and Russia concluded with the mediation of the UN and Turkey.

On September 4, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, expressed hope that an agreement on the Black Sea Grain Initiative would be reached in a short time.

After Moscow withdrew from the grain deal, the Russian forces attacked Ukraine's ports 118 times. About a third of the infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed.

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