EU to Soften Russia Sanctions - Report

The European Union is planning to amend its sanctions on Moscow to facilitate trade in food and fertilizers, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The changes will allow EU nations to unfreeze the funds of top Russian banks, which may be required to ease bottlenecks in the global trade of food and fertilizers, Reuters explained, citing a draft document it has seen.

The document said the funds could be released “after having determined that such funds or economic resources are necessary for the purchase, import or transport of agricultural and food products, including wheat and fertilizers,” the agency said.

The revised sanctions will also help facilitate exports of food from Russian ports, which traders had stopped servicing despite food exports being explicitly exempted from the sanctions, Reuters added, quoting an official.

The amendments are expected to be adopted on Wednesday, and will reportedly concern Russian lenders such as VTB, Sovcombank, Otkritie FC Bank, Promsvyazbank, and others.

Russia is the world’s largest exporter of fertilizers and wheat. According to Reuters, the changes follow criticism from African leaders about the negative impact the sanctions have had on the trade of critical commodities. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine and broad restrictions on Russia have led to food-supply shortages, rising grain and fertilizer prices, and have triggered fears of a global food crisis.

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This article originally appeared at RT.