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Monday, March 20, 2023

Official: Russia 'ready' to extend Black Sea grain deal for only 60 days

by The Kyiv Independent news deskMarch 13, 2023 9:31 pm

Russia is prepared to extend the Black Sea Grain Initiative after deliberations with United Nations officials, but only for a period of 60 days, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said on March 13. 

The Black Sea Grain Initiative, which unblocked Ukraine's grain exports via the Black Sea, was concluded by Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the UN in July 2022. Before that the grain exports had been blocked due to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. 

Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said that Russia's position violates its agreements with Ukraine, Turkey and the UN. He argued that the grain deal envisages at least a 120-day extension, not a 60-day one. 

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres visited Kyiv on March 8 to discuss the deal with President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

The deal, which was first signed by Ukraine and Russia in July 2022, is set to expire on March 18. Both Ukraine and Russia must sign the agreement in order for it to be renewed, but Russia has been threatening to back out of the deal. 

"The continuation of the agreement will depend not on words but deeds, namely the normalization of our agricultural exports," Vershinin claimed on March 13.

Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskyi told the Kyiv Independent on Feb. 27 that it was vital not only to extend the grain deal but to increase the number of daily exports and ensure the addition of other ports in the deal.

The Kyiv Independent news desk
The Kyiv Independent news desk

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