Ukraine begins negotiating Black Sea grain deal extension

8 March, 12:07 AM
Grain exports from Ukraine decreased by 26.6% (Photo:YORUK ISIK via Reuters)

Grain exports from Ukraine decreased by 26.6% (Photo:YORUK ISIK via Reuters)

Ukraine and its partners have started negotiations to extend the Black Sea grain exports deal, hoping to ensure that Kyiv can continue to supply food to world markets despite Russia’s naval presence, Reuters reported on March 7.

According to a senior source in the Ukrainian government, Ukraine didn’t negotiate with Russia, which blockaded Ukrainian Black Sea ports after invading the country in February 2022. Instead, Turkish and UN presentative act as intermediaries between Ukraine and Russia.

“The situation with the negotiations is rather complicated,” the source told Reuters.

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“Now, much depends not on us, but on (our) partners.”

At the same time, Moscow said it would agree to an extension of the grain deal only if the interests of its own agricultural producers are taken into account.

While Russia's agricultural exports aren’t a directly affected by Western sanctions, Russia claims that restrictions on its payments, logistics, and insurance are a "barrier" to its ability to export its own grain and fertilizers.

In the 2022/23 season, grain exports from Ukraine decreased by 26.6% – to 32.9 million tons as of March 6, due to a modest harvest and logistical difficulties caused by the Russian invasion.

In November 2022, the grain deal was extended for another four months. The United Nations and Turkey remained the guarantors of the implementation of the Grain Initiative.

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