Ukraine grain export deal extended for four months

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An agreement allowing Ukraine to export grain through the Black Sea and aimed at relieving global food insecurity has been extended for 120 days, officials said on Thursday.

Ukraine is a top world exporter of grain, but Russia’s invasion in late February stopped shipments. 

On Thursday Ukrainian and Turkish officials announced that the agreement would be extended by four months under existing conditions.

Russia confirmed that it had allowed the extension of the grain deal “without changes”. 

In recent weeks, Russia had repeatedly warned that it might not agree to extend the agreement because a separate deal that was also signed in July, exempting Russian fertilisers from sanctions, had not been implemented.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres hailed the extension and said the grain deal “continues to demonstrate the importance of discreet diplomacy in the context of finding multilateral solutions,” he said.

Both agreements were “essential to bring down the prices of food and fertiliser and avoid a global food crisis,” Guterres said in a statement released by the Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Center (JCC) that has been overseeing the agreement. 

“This is vital for stability,” he said in a speech broadcast on social media.

Some 40 percent of the grain exported under the agreement has gone to developing countries.

– Fertilisers –

Agricultural products and fertilisers do not fall under the sanctions against Russia but because of the risks in the Black Sea linked to the Ukraine conflict, it has become difficult to insure the vessels transporting them.

“Only if we could clarify this policy framework, the private sector actors were willing to re-engage in the trade” of Russian fertilisers.

Last month, Russia temporarily pulled out from the agreement, accusing Ukraine of a “massive” drone attack on its Black Sea fleet in Crimea before rejoining it. 

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Originally published as Ukraine grain export deal extended for four months


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