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Ukraine, Russia extend Black Sea grain deal for 120 days

November 17, 2022

Russia and Ukraine have agreed to extend a UN-brokered grain export deal for another 120 days, officials announced. World leaders praised the breakthrough for helping "avoid global food shortages" at a crucial time.

A crew member prepares a grain analysis for a control made by members of the Joint Coordination Center (JCC)
Ukraine exports its grain to countries around the worldImage: Yasin Akgul/AFP

Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Thursday that the Black Sea grain deal between Ukraine and Russia will be extended for another 120 days.

He said continuing the grain export agreement brokered by Turkey with the UN was "another important step in the global fight against the food crisis."

Russia's Foreign Ministry also confirmed that the deal would be extended "without changes in terms of scope" to the current agreement.

Extension is 'good news for the world'

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the agreement "by all parties to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative to facilitate the safe navigation of export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers from Ukraine."

Guterres also emphasized the necessity to remove remaining obstacles to export food and fertilizer from Russia.  

"Both agreements signed in Istanbul three months ago are essential to bring down the prices of food and fertilizer and avoid a global food crisis," Guterres said. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan praised the extension of the deal. "It has been clearly seen how important and beneficial this agreement is for the food supply and security of the world," he wrote on Twitter.

Top European Union officials also welcomed the extension, with European Council President Charles Michel describing it as "good news for a wold that badly needs access to grain and fertilizers."

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the breakthrough "helps avoid global food shortages and brings down prices despite Russia's war."

A UN-chartered vessel loads more than 23,000 tonnes of grain to export to Ethopia from Ukraine's Odessa on the Black Sea coast.
In a deal brokered by Turkey, Russia and Ukraine had agreed on a deal that saw Ukraine export its grain via the Black Sea. Image: Oleksander Gimanov/AFP/Getty Images

Why was the deal at risk?

Moscow and Kyiv had agreed to allow Ukrainian foodstuff exports via the Black Sea in a move to ease a global food crisis. The agreement allowed ships to travel without being attacked on specific routes from Ukraine to the Bosporus.

Earlier this month, Moscow was unsure it would renew the deal, which was slated to end on November 19. 

The agreement is crucial in securing food supplies for developing countries in Africa and the Middle East. Ukraine is a major global exporter of wheat, along with Russia. Grain exports were renewed after a hiatus of over four months caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

Russia had threatened to let the agreement lapse, creating a global grain crisis, if it was not granted full access to global markets for its own food and fertilizer exports. 

On Tuesday, on the sidelines of the G20 summit, Guterres and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held a "very frank and open discussion" on the Black Sea grain deal.

Meanwhile, a source familiar with the discussions told Reuters news agency that the export of Russian ammonia via a pipeline to the Black Sea is not yet agreed on as part of the renewed deal.

rs, ns/sms (Reuters, AFP, dpa)