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The Black Sea Grain Initiative, allowing Ukraine to continue exporting its grain amid Russia's full-scale war, was prolonged on May 17, and is due to expire on July 18.
“I’m hopeful for an extension,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on July 8 in a joint speech with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Our hope is that it will be extended at least once every three months, not every two months. We will make an effort in this regard and try to increase the duration of it to two years,” Erdogan said.
The UN and Turkey-brokered deal, first signed in July 2022, has been paramount in subduing soaring food prices worldwide.
Russia's all-out war prevented Ukraine, one of the world's top grain suppliers, from exporting agricultural products from its Black Sea ports.
The deal has been extended several times since then. The previous extension was agreed upon on March 17, after weeks of Russia threatening to back out of it if certain terms were not met.
Russia has repeatedly threatened to terminate the deal, while sabotaging and delaying the inspections of ships carrying Ukrainian food products under the initiative.
According to Ukraine's Infrastructure Ministry, due to Russia's actions, the worldwide exports of Ukrainian grain have been reduced by 15-18 million tons.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities insist that the grain deal be open-ended and automatically extended for 120 days.