Mar 14, 2023

Black Sea grain deal extended 60 days

Kremlin says deal must address barriers to Russian exports.

Russia said Monday it is ready to allow an extension to a Ukraine grain export deal, but only for 60 days.

According to VOA News, a Russian delegation at talks with senior United Nations (U.N.) officials described the conversations Monday as "comprehensive and frank" but said Russia wanted to see "tangible progress" on a parallel agreement on Russian exports before the Ukraine grain deal again comes up for renewal.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, signed in July 2022, was designed to alleviate global food shortages by helping to export Ukrainian grain and fertilizer safely from three Ukrainian ports. The agreement is due to expire March 18.

Ukraine wants full 120-day deal

Ukraine's infrastructure minister, Oleksandr Kubrakov, said Russia's decision to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative for only 60 days goes against the agreement.

On Twitter, Kubrakov said the Black Sea Grain Initiative "agreement involves at least 120 days of extension, therefore Russia's position to extend the deal only for 60 days contradicts the document signed by Turkey and the UN."

The UN chief on Monday confirmed the U.N. would “do everything possible to preserve the integrity” of the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

"The United Nations remains totally committed to the Black Sea Grain Initiative, as well as our efforts to facilitate the export of Russian food and fertilizer," said U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric in a statement.

Reuters reports that Türkiye, which facilitated the deal alongside the U.N., said in a defense ministry statement that Moscow had agreed to back a 60-day extension to the deal but that talks continue.

Related reading

One year later: Grain industry impacts from the Russia-Ukraine war

Black Sea Grain Initiative begins negotiations

Russia: Sanctions are barrier to grain deal renewal

Lisa Cleaver

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