Ukraine grain export deal extended for two months


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

The two-month extension, negotiated by the United Nations and Turkey, was announced a day before the previous deal was due to expire.

There had been concerns that Russia could pull out of the pact.

It was first agreed last July following fears of global food shortages as a result of the war in Ukraine.

The agreement has been renewed several times since then, despite Russia’s criticism of Western sanctions against its agricultural sector.

Ukraine is one of the world’s top producers of grain, but its access to ports in the Black Sea was initially blocked by Russian warships following the invasion in February last year.

On Wednesday Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said : “With the efforts of our country, the support of our Russian friends, the contribution of our Ukrainian friends, it was decided to extend the Black Sea grain deal for two more months.”

More than 30m tonnes of grain have left Ukraine under the deal – mostly going to the world’s poorest countries.

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

Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, told reporters on Wednesday: “We still do not lose hope that the problems that we are raising will be sorted out. The sooner the better.”

Russia briefly withdrew from the deal in November last year, accusing Ukraine of attacking its fleet in the Crimea – but it re-joined a few days