Sergey Vershinin, the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, confirmed on Saturday that Russia raised the issue of connection to the SWIFT system of the state-owned Russian Agricultural Bank as part of negotiations on the "Grain Initiative" with UN representatives.
Source: European Pravda; Vershinin's statement as quoted by TASS, a Russian state-owned news agency
Quote by Vershinin: "This is not the first time we have discussed this, because, from my point of view, the reconnection of the Russian Agricultural Bank, which provides the majority of transactions for agricultural matters and operations, is a key issue. Without it, of course, we simply cannot move forward... We are working on it, and we will pursue it," he said.
The Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation noted that there are specific developments on how to open correspondent accounts in a number of foreign banks, Citibank and JPMorgan, as a temporary option.
"But if this option is possible, it can only be temporary, because the real solution is a complete reconnection of the Russian Agricultural Bank to the SWIFT financial transfer system," he added.
In June, Russian Agricultural Bank, as well as Sberbank and Credit Bank of Moscow, was disconnected from the SWIFT system as part of the sixth package of EU sanctions.
Earlier, the Reuters news agency reported that Russia had demanded that the West loosen restrictions on the state-owned agricultural creditor, the Russian Agricultural Bank, in order to facilitate the export of Russian grain.
Russia claims that sanctions imposed after the start of the full-scale war against Ukraine make it difficult for Russian grain and fertiliser traders to process payments and access ships, insurance and ports, although food is not subject to the sanctions.