Ukraine Black Sea grain deal extended for at least 60 days - GulfToday

Ukraine Black Sea grain deal extended for at least 60 days

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Gulf Today Report

A deal allowing the safe Black Sea export of Ukrainian grain was renewed on Saturday for at least 60 days — half the intended period — after Russia warned any further extension beyond mid-May would depend on the removal of some Western sanctions.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that an agreement allowing the export of Ukrainian grain from the Black Sea ports has been renewed.

Erdogan added in a speech delivered in the city of Çanakkale, west of the country: "The grain corridor agreement was scheduled to expire at the end of the day... As a result of our talks with both sides, it was agreed to extend this agreement."

Earlier Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the agreement had been extended by 120 days.

"The (Black Sea Grain Initiative) agreement has been extended by 120 days," Kubrakov wrote on Twitter.

He added, "We thank the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, the United Nations, President Erdogan, Minister Hulusi Akar, the Turkish Minister of Defense, and all our partners for their commitment to the agreements."

The RBC media group quoted Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, as saying on Saturday that her country had informed all parties to the grain export agreement from the Black Sea ports of extending the agreement by 60 days.

The United Nations and Turkey brokered the deal with Russia and Ukraine in July, and it was renewed for another 120 days in November to combat a global food crisis fueled in part by the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the blockade of Black Sea ports.

Russia had previously called for extending the agreement by only 60 days, half of the previous renewal period, while Ukraine insisted on extending it for 120 days.

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