Russia threatens grain deal if G7 bans exports

If the Group of Seven (G7) countries moved to ban exports to Russia, Moscow would respond by terminating the Black Sea Grain deal that enables vital exports of grain from Ukraine, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said on Sunday April 23rd.

Last week Japan’s Kyodo News Agency, citing unnamed Japanese government sources, reported that the G7 was considering a near-total ban on exports to Russia.

Medvedev said that “this idea from the idiots at the G7 about a total ban of exports to our country by default is beautiful in that it implies a reciprocal ban on imports from our country, including categories of goods that are the most sensitive for the G7”, adding that “in such a case, the grain deal – and many other things that they need – will end for them”.

The G7 was reported to be discussing a change in its sanctions approach so that exports to Russia were automatically banned unless they were included on a designated list of products allowed to be shipped to the country. Under the current framework, goods are allowed to be sold to Russia unless they are explicitly banned.

The G7 on Sunday did not seem willing to give any ground on the matter of the Black Sea Grain agreement, scheduled to expire on May 18th. As before, the group’s agricultural ministers called for the “extension, full implementation and expansion” of the deal to export Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, without addressing Russia’s statement that the deal would end unless Russian exports of non-sanctioned goods, particularly fertilizers and grain, were made easier.