The European Union is considering a Russian proposal to set up a branch of the Russian Agricultural Bank to regain access to global financial networks, Reuters reported July 3, citing the Financial Times.
The newspaper said the move is aimed at safeguarding the Black Sea Grain Agreement, which allows Ukraine to export grain to global markets, given that the Russian agricultural bank is currently under sanctions.
Russia said last week it saw no reason to extend the grain deal beyond July 17 because of “outrageous” Western actions on the deal. But Russia assured poor countries that the country’s grain exports would continue.
The Financial Times, citing sources familiar with the matter, said Moscow’s plan is to have the aforementioned branch handle payments related to grain exports.
The newspaper added that the new branch would be allowed to use the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Communications (SWIFT) system. The system was closed to some of Russia’s largest banks after the Russian-Ukrainian conflict broke out last year.
In addition to rejoining SWIFT, Russia is also seeking to restore the supply of agricultural machinery and parts, as well as lift restrictions on insurance and reinsurance, the report said.