Ukrainian Black Sea grain export deal extended -Dlight News

Ukrainian Black Sea grain export deal extended

A deal allowing Ukraine to export grain by ship to world markets has been extended despite Russia’s Black Sea blockade, the UN and the Ukrainian and Turkish governments said on Saturday.

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, agreed in July under UN auspices and brokered by Turkey, has enabled Ukraine to send 25 million tonnes of grain and edible oil, easing pressure on global food prices.

Oleksandr Kubrakov, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister responsible for infrastructure, said in a tweet that the agreement had been extended for 120 days.

The UN confirmed that the deal had been rolled over but did not specify for how long, as did Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“The deal for the grain corridor was supposed to end today,” Erdogan said in a speech in the Turkish city of Canakkale, Reuters reported. “As a result of our negotiations with both parties, we have enhanced this deal.”

The original agreement reached last year specified that it would automatically continue for 120 days if neither party raised an objection. Ukraine, Turkey and the UN supported the extension but Moscow said it wanted to extend it for only 60 days.

The deal was extended once in November. It allows the export of commercial feed and fertilizers, including ammonia, from three Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea – Odessa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhny/Pivdeny.

The Kremlin was pushing to reopen a pipeline to pump ammonia, a feedstock for fertilizer, from Tolyatti in central Russia to Odessa for export. It has also sought to ease what it claims are Western restrictions on Russian grain exports, even though they are not covered by the sanctions.

This initiative is becoming a lifeline for Ukrainian farmers and grain traders as alternative export routes via railways and river barges have much less capacity and are more expensive.

Ships are diverted out of official ports to avoid mines and then follow an agreed humanitarian corridor south to Turkey.

Ukrainian officials have complained that Moscow is undermining the deal by ordering its officials to withdraw inspections of Ukrainian ships as they leave the Black Sea for the Bosphorus. Russian inspectors were ordered to work shorter hours and spend more time with each ship, delaying some vessels for weeks, Kiev claimed.

“The Black Sea Grains Initiative, along with the Memorandum of Understanding on promoting Russian food products and fertilizers to world markets, is important for global food security, especially for developing countries,” the UN said.

“We are strongly committed to both agreements and we urge all parties to redouble their efforts for full implementation.”

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