Ukraine and Russia extend grain deal. That says Turkish President Erdogan, who was involved in the negotiations. The agreement was due to expire tonight. The United Nations also reports an agreement.
Yet much is still unclear. According to Ukraine, the agreement will be extended by 120 days, while Russia speaks of 60 days. Erdogan says nothing about the term. The number of days by which the agreement would be extended has been under discussion all week.
Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement last year after mediation by the United Nations that made it possible again to transport Ukrainian grain and other agricultural products via the Black Sea. The war had brought exports to a halt, which led to sharply higher food prices and a threat of famine in parts of Africa.
The agreement was originally for 120 days and is automatically extended for the same period, unless one of the parties objects. In November, the agreement was extended for the first time by 120 days.
60 or 120 days
This time, Russia objected to the 120-day extension. By demanding 60 days instead, the country wanted to remove barriers to Russian agricultural exports.
There are no formal Western sanctions for the export of agricultural products, but in practice it is difficult for Russian companies to insure cargoes and arrange banking matters, for example.
Last week, several talks took place about extending the agreement. After negotiations on Monday, Russia’s deputy foreign minister announced that the deal had been extended for 60 days. But that was contradicted by other parties, after which more talks were held.
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