Russia, Ukraine and Turkey have agreed to renew the Black Sea Grain Initiative and allow Ukrainian wheat, corn and other farm commodities to continue flowing out of Odesa ports as the war rages on, according to a statement by the United Nations on Saturday, the last day for the deal to be extended.
The initiative is renewed every 120 days unless Russia, Ukraine or Turkey object or demand an alteration that must be agreed upon by all of the parties. Moscow sparked concerns last Monday when it announced that it would only agree to a 60-day extension – half of the 120-day term that’s called for in the deal – but none of the other parties commented publicly on whether the alteration was acceptable.
In its Saturday announcement, the UN did not say how long the extension was for, but Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said in a tweet that the extension is for 120 days.
This is the second extension of the initiative since the deal was finalized July 22. Since then, Ukraine has been able to export about 25 million metric tons of grain from three of its Black Sea ports in Odesa, according to the UN.
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Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said last Monday that Moscow’s demand for the renewal term to be cut in half was in response to anger over Russia’s inability to export fertilizer.
The UN, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey signed a separate deal – what’s now being called simply the “Memorandum of Understanding” – on July 22 that promised to expedite Russian fertilizer exports, but Moscow continues to claim that the trade is suffering despite promises from the European Union and U.S. that sanctions have been lifted.
“The Black Sea Grain Initiative, alongside the Memorandum of Understanding on promoting Russian food products and fertilizers to the world markets, are critical for global food security, especially for developing countries,” the UN said in a statement Saturday. “We remain strongly committed to both agreements and we urge all sides to redouble their efforts to implement them fully.”
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