After agreeing to extend the Black Sea grain initiative again this week, Russia renewed threats to let the deal expire if Western powers do not meet its demands to lift certain sanctions.
Moscow has frequently complained that while the deal allows Ukraine to export its grain through Black Sea ports, its own exports are impeded by Western sanctions. An agreement with the United Nations to help facilitate Russian shipments has not yielded results, the Kremlin claims.
The Russian foreign ministry said Thursday there will be not talks of expanding the deal further unless it gets concessions.
“The Russian Federation reminds the US, Britain and the EU of the need for a real lifting of unilateral sanctions on Russian fertilizers and food; even donations of Russian fertilizers to the poorest countries continue to face blocking due to sanctions,” the ministry statement reads.
Some context: The grain deal became necessary in the first place after Russia launched its war in Ukraine. Following its full-scale invasion, Moscow blockaded exports from key Ukrainian Black Sea ports, including Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi.
The blockages kept millions of tons of Ukrainian grain from reaching the countries that rely on it, until the United Nations and Turkey helped broker the deal.
What Ukraine is saying: The current extension does not provide for satisfying Russia’s outside demands, said Vasyl Bodnar, Ukraine’s ambassador in Turkey.
"What Russia is trying to attach now are issues related to the ammonia pipeline, issues related to the lifting of sanctions against banks and organizations involved in grain and fertilizer trade. This issue is still under discussion,” he said.
The grain initiative exists separately from Russia's demands, which are between the Kremlin and UN leadership, Bodnar insisted.
CNN's Sophie Tanno contributed to this report.