Russia and Ukraine extend grain deal despite disagreement


UN says nearly 25 million tonnes of grain left Ukraine under deal

A deal allowing Ukraine to export millions of tonnes of grain through the Black Sea despite the ongoing conflict with Russia has been extended.

But it’s unclear how long that will last, with Ukraine pushing for 120 days and Russia calling for 60 days.

Russia has warned it will not let the deal last any longer unless sanctions against Moscow are eased.

The UN and Turkey helped broker the export deal last July over fears of a global food crisis.

Ukraine is one of the world’s top grain producers, but its access to Black Sea ports was blocked by Russian warships after last February’s invasion.

Food-insecure countries, such as Yemen, depend heavily on these supplies.

Turkish President Recep Tayyup Erdogan on Saturday announced an agreement to extend the deal, with hours to go before it expires.

“This agreement is of vital importance for the world food supply. I thank Russia and Ukraine, who have spared no effort for a new extension, as well as the Secretary General of the United Nations”, a- he declared.

But neither Mr. Erdogan nor the UN has specified how long this will last. Ukraine wanted it extended for 120 days, but Russia said it was only willing to renew the pact for another 60 days.

Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, said on Friday the EU, UK and US had two months to lift any sanctions on Russia’s agricultural sector if they wanted the deal to go through. continue.

Moscow wants Russian producers to be able to export more food and fertilizer to the rest of the world, but says Western sanctions are preventing them from doing so.

Although food and fertilizer exports have not been targeted, Russia says restrictions on payments, insurers and shippers are making exports difficult.

Russia briefly withdrew from the deal in November last year, accusing Ukraine of attacking its fleet in Crimea – but joined days later.

According to the UN, the agreement has already allowed nearly 25 million tonnes of food from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to reach world markets.

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