Russia and Ukraine had been at odds over an extension of the grain export deal that has helped contain the global food crisis. The UN did not specify the length of the renewal.
The United Nations said on Saturday that a deal allowing for the safe export of grain from Ukrainian reports had been extended.
The UN did not specify the length of the renewal.
“The Black Sea Grain Initiative, signed in Istanbul on 22 July 2022, has been extended,” the UN said in a statement, and thanked the Turkish government for its diplomatic and operational support of the deal.
Turkey’s President Reccep Tayip Erdogan also confirmed the extension without specifying how long it would last.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a tweet that the agreement had been extended for 120 days.
A day earlier, aid chief Martin Griffiths said that the UN was “doing everything possible” to ensure the Black Sea grain deal continues.
Disagreement between Russia and Ukraine
Russia and Ukraine had disagreed about the duration of an extension of the pact, which allows for the safe transportation of grain and foodstuffs from Ukrainian ports through the Black Sea despite the ongoing war.
The initial 120-day agreement struck with the UN and Turkey was extended in November for a further 120 days, and was due to expire at 21:00 GMT on Saturday.
Russia said it would only allow a further 60-day extension, while Ukraine insisted on a 120-day extension.
“Attempts by the aggressor to reduce the extension period are a manipulation to continue further blackmail and deepen a global food crisis. We have to prevent this,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.
No one could say with certainty what would happen when the deadline expired.
“We very much hope that the initiative will continue and the ships will continue to flow,” Stephane Dujarric spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.
According to the UN, Ukraine has exported nearly 25 million tons of food under the deal that has helped bring down global food prices.
“The world relies on these supplies,” Griffiths said.
Russia’s deadline on sanctions
Moscow says a parallel agreement has failed to facilitate Russian exports of grain and fertilizer through the Black Sea.
The West has imposed tough sanctions on Russia for its full-scale invasion and war in Ukraine. While its food and fertilizer exports are not under sanctions, Moscow says restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance industries are a barrier to shipments.
“If Brussels, Washington and London are genuinely interested to continue the export of food from Ukraine through the maritime humanitarian corridor then they have two months to exempt from their sanctions the entire chain of operations which accompany the Russian agricultural sector,” Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the Security Council.
Griffiths admitted obstacles remain to help facilitate Russian food and fertilizer exports, notably the payment systems.
“It is vital for global food security that both of these agreements continue and should be fully implemented,” he said.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the Council, “sanctions are not the issue.”
“When it comes to sanctions we have gone to extraordinary lengths to communicate the clear carve-outs for food and fertilizers to governments and to the private sector,” she said.
According to a report, The Black Sea Grain Initiative has been extended for another 120 days. This was announced by Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for Restoration – Minister for Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development Oleksandr Kubrakov on Facebook, Ukrinform reports.
“The grain initiative agreement has been extended for another 120 days,” he wrote.
Kubrakov thanked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as all partner countries, for their joint efforts to extend the validity of the document for another four months.
“This means that Ukraine continues to export its agricultural products through three deep sea ports. In particular, from August 1 until today, we sent 25 million tons for the needs of the world,” the minister said.
At the same time, according to him, the main challenge is to speed up inspections in Turkey. This will allow the world to get even more Ukrainian agricultural products.
“We are also continuing work on involving Mykolaiv region in the ‘grain initiative’ and expanding the range of cargo. Ukraine was and remains firmly embedded in the world economy and markets. The ability to export more will allow removing inflationary risks, and as a result, social tension in many countries of the world,” Kubrakov added.
In Istanbul on Nov.17, 2022, Ukraine, the United Nations, and Turkey agreed to extend the initiative for the safe transportation of agricultural products across the Black Sea for another 120 days. The initiative was launched on July 22, 2022, and the first ship carrying Ukrainian foodstuffs left the port of Odesa on August 1.