Russia supports extending Ukraine grain deal for 60 days
Russia's Foreign Ministry says it is ready to extend the grain deal (Photo:Paolo Galasso / Alamy via Reuters)
Moscow has no objections to extending the Black Sea grain deal for 60 days, with further prolongation contingent on normalization of Russia’s own agricultural exports, Deputy Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Vershinin, told Russian news agency Interfax on March 13.
“The Russian side, noting the ‘package’ nature of the Istanbul agreements proposed by UN Secretary General António Guterres, doesn’t object to another extension of the ‘Black Sea Initiative’ after the second term expires on March 18 – but only for 60 days,” Vershinin said.
“Our further position will be determined depending on real progress in the normalization of Russian agricultural exports, including bank payments, transport logistics, insurance, ‘unfreezing’ of financial activities, and the supply of ammonia through the Togliatti-Odessa pipeline.”
According to him, the most recent round of negotiations confirmed that "while the commercial export of Ukrainian products is carried out at a steady pace, bringing Kyiv a considerable profit – there are barriers still remaining in the way of Russian agricultural exporters."
The consultations of the Russian delegation with UN representatives, led by Secretary General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Rebeca Greenspan and UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths, took place in Geneva on March 13.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative, mediated by the UN and Turkey in July 2022, unblocked three Ukrainian Black Sea ports for food exports, relieving the pressure on global food supply.
On Nov. 17, 2022, the grain agreement was extended for another four months – until March 18.
The grain deal was recently discussed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and UN Secretary General António Guterres, when Guterres visited Kyiv on March 8.
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