Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov has slammed the Russian decision to offer a 60-day extension of the grain deal, an initiative that unblocked Ukraine’s agricultural exports from the country’s Black Sea ports, as going against the agreement signed by Turkey and the UN because it envisions an automatic 120-day extension if the parties do not have any complaints.
“The Black Sea Grain Initiative agreement involves at least 120 days of extension, therefore Russia’s position to extend the deal only for 60 days contradicts the document signed by Turkey & the UN. We’re waiting for the official position of the UN and Turkey as the guarantors of the initiative,” Kubrakov tweeted.
The UN said that the organisation had taken notice of “the announcement made today by the Russian Federation regarding an extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative for 60 days”. According to the UN, the grain deal made it possible to export 24 million tonnes of grain and carry out more than 1,600 safe and secure ship voyages across the Black Sea, while 55% of the agricultural deliveries were sent to developing countries.
Earlier, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin announced that Russia does not object to extending the grain deal beyond 18 March but only for a 60-day period. According to him, the future position will be determined with regards to the “real progress” achieved in normalising Moscow’s agricultural exports.
Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, and the UN signed the grain deal on 22 July 2022. The parties agreed to create a safe naval corridor for commercial vessels to leave Ukraine’s seaports and travel across the Black Sea.