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Free fertilizer to Africa, Russian move to strengthen ties with African states

The humanitarian cargo will be supplied in spite of the Western sanctions targeting the country’s agricultural exports

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Moscow is preparing two batches of fertilizers to be shipped to Kenya and Nigeria free of charge, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin has revealed. The announcement comes amid uncertainty over the prospects for an extension of the Black Sea grain deal.

“So far, one shipment [of Russian fertilizers] of 20,000 tons, has been transported to Malawi, and it took six months. More [deliveries of fertilizers] to Kenya and Nigeria are being prepared, but they have not yet been implemented,” Vershinin told Russia 24 TV on Friday.

The deputy foreign minister noted that he was speaking about supplies of Russian fertilizers which fell under Western sanctions and were delivered at Moscow’s expense. “This is the real picture of what’s happening today, which, unfortunately, many are trying to conceal,” Vershinin said, expressing confidence that “they won’t succeed.”

The Western sanctions do not directly target Russian agricultural goods, but affect payments, insurance, and shipping. With many Russian banks disconnected from SWIFT, direct settlements for exports have been made difficult.

Under the Black Sea grain deal – which was brokered last July by the UN and Türkiye to help keep agricultural shipments from Ukraine going – Russia was to receive a sanctions reprieve for its own agricultural goods.

However, Moscow has expressed discontent with UN efforts to lift Western restrictions affecting the sector. According to the Kremlin, only half of the agreement is currently being implemented because not all parties have kept their side of the bargain.

The deal has already been extended once but is now set to expire on May 18, and there is uncertainty about the prospects for an extension. Moscow has said it would only consider another extension if the demands regarding its own exports are met.

Last September, President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was ready to transfer 300,000 tons of Russian fertilizers – stuck in EU ports due to Western sanctions – to developing countries free of charge. While Putin welcomed the decision to allow Russian fertilizers into the EU, he criticized Brussels for only allowing the bloc’s member states to buy them, according to RT News.

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