Russia, Ukraine extend grain deal despite disagreement

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According to the UN, almost 25 million tons of grain have left Ukraine under this agreement

A deal allowing Ukraine to export millions of tonnes of grain through the Black Sea has been extended despite the conflict with Russia.

But with Ukraine calling for 120 days and Russia for 60 days, it is unclear how long this will last.

Russia has warned that it will not allow the deal to last much longer unless sanctions against Moscow are eased.

The UN and Turkey helped broker an export deal last July following fears of a global food crisis.

Ukraine is one of the world’s leading grain producers, but access to ports on the Black Sea has been blocked by Russian warships following an invasion in February last year.

Food insecure countries such as Yemen rely heavily on these commodities.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced an agreement to extend the deal on Saturday, hours before it expires.

“This agreement is of vital importance for global food supply. I thank Russia and Ukraine and the United Nations Secretary-General for not giving up their efforts for a new extension,” he said.

But neither Mr Erdogan nor the UN clarified how long this would last. Ukraine wants to extend it by 120 days, but Russia has said it is only willing to renew the agreement for another 60 days.

Moscow wants Russian producers to export more food and fertilizer to the rest of the world, but says Western sanctions are preventing them.

While food and fertilizer exports are not targeted, Russia says restrictions on payments, insurers and exporters make exports difficult.

Russia briefly pulled out of the deal in November last year, accusing Ukraine of attacking its navy in Crimea – but it rejoined days later.

According to UNThe agreement has already allowed nearly 25 million tons of food from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to reach world markets.

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