The grain export contract with Ukraine has been extended by four months

The grain export contract with Ukraine has been extended by four months


A deal allowing Ukraine to export grain through the Black Sea, aimed at alleviating global food insecurity, has been extended by 120 days, officials said Thursday.

Ukraine is a leading global grain exporter, but the invasion of Russia in late February halted supplies.

The deal between the two warring factions, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July, has helped move more than 11 million tons of grain and other agricultural products out of Ukrainian ports since early August. It expired on Saturday.

On Thursday, Ukrainian and Turkish officials announced they would extend the deal by four months under existing conditions.

“The #BlackSeaGrainInitiative will be extended by 120 days,” Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Twitter, while a senior Turkish official confirmed to AFP that the deal had been extended “under the current conditions.”

Russia confirmed that it had allowed the Grains Agreement to be extended “without changes”.

“The Russian side is also allowing the technical extension of the Grains Initiative without changes in terms or scope,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said after fears that the landmark agreement would not be extended.

Russia had repeatedly warned in recent weeks that it might not agree to an extension of the agreement because a separate agreement to exempt Russian fertilizers from sanctions, also signed in July, had not been implemented.


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

Guterres also tried to allay Moscow’s concerns by saying that “the United Nations is also fully committed to removing the remaining barriers to food and fertilizer exports from the Russian Federation.”

Both agreements are “essential to bring down food and fertilizer prices and avoid a global food crisis,” Guterres said in a statement from the Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Center (JCC), which has overseen the agreement.

Ukraine wants to extend the agreement “indefinitely,” said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“It’s crucial for stability,” he said in a speech that was broadcast on social media.

The flow of Ukrainian exports is crucial for stabilizing prices in international markets and supplying the populations most at risk of hunger, especially in Africa.

Around 40 percent of the grain exported under the agreement went to developing countries.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted: “It has become clear how important and beneficial this deal is to world food security and security.”

– Fertilizer –

In the weeks of intense diplomacy leading up to Thursday’s announcement, many negotiations focused on the fertilizer issue, a UN source said on condition of anonymity.

Agricultural products and fertilizers are not covered by the sanctions against Russia, but risks in the Black Sea related to the Ukraine conflict have made it difficult to insure the transport vessels.

According to the UN source, a policy framework for exemptions on insurance, port access, financial transactions, shipping and access for shipping has been established in line with the sanctions imposed on Russia.

“It was only when we could clarify this policy framework that private sector actors were willing to re-engage in the trade” in Russian fertilizers.

The Black Sea Agreement allows Ukrainian grain ships to navigate safe corridors that avoid mines in the Black Sea.

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

The Russian invasion blocked 20 million tons of grain in Ukraine’s ports before the United Nations and Turkey negotiated the deal in July.

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