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Russia and Ukraine agree to extension of grain deal – but there is confusion over the expiry date

A deal allowing the safe export of Ukrainian grain was renewed on Saturday for at least 60 days – half the intended period – after Russia warned any further extension beyond mid-May would depend on the removal of some Western sanctions.

The pact to allow shipments across the Black Sea was brokered with Russia and Ukraine by the United Nations and Turkey in July and renewed for a further 120 days in November, with the deal due to expire this weekend. 

Russia said it has now agreed to a 60-day extension, while Ukraine’s infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said the deal had been extended for 120 days. Turkey and the United Nations did not specify the duration. 

‘We are seeing reports from parties to the “grain deal” that the deal has been extended for 120 days,’ Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in remarks carried by the Interfax news agency.

‘We have repeatedly stated… that the Russian side has notified all parties to the deal that it is extending the deal for 60 days.’

The UN, Turkey and Ukraine had pushed for 120 days.

‘This deal is of vital importance for the global food supply. I thank Russia and Ukraine, who didn’t spare their efforts for a new extension, as well as the United Nations secretary general,’ Erdogan said in comments broadcast on Turkish television just hours before the agreement was due to expire. 

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Friday that the European Union, the United States and Britain now ‘have two months to exempt from their sanctions the entire chain of operations which accompany the Russian agricultural sector,’ if they want the Ukraine Black Sea grain deal to continue. 

Source of data and images: dailymail

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