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UN confirms Black Sea Grain Initiative extension
In a statement on March 18, the United Nations confirmed that the Black Sea Grain Initiative, signed on July 22, 2022, has been extended.
According to the statement, around “25 million metric tonnes of grain and foodstuffs have been moved to 45 countries, helping to bring down global food prices and stabilizing the markets.”
On March 18, Russia said that it agreed to a 60-day grain deal extension that enables Ukraine to export its agricultural products via the Black Sea, refuting Ukraine’s earlier announcement that the deal was prolonged for 120 days.
Ukraine has criticized Moscow’s push for a shortened period, saying it “contradicts” the original agreement.
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal stressed on March 17 that “Ukraine is one of the key links of global food security, so we insist that the grain deal be open-ended and automatically extended for 120 days.”
Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said during his speech in the western Turkish city of Canakkale that "as a result of our talks with the two sides, we have secured an extension to this deal," but he did not mention for how long.
The UN and Turkey have backed Ukraine's call for a 120-day rollover period amid Russia's push to renew the pact for only 60 days.
The grain deal, which allows ships carrying food commodities to leave from three designated Black Sea ports in the southern Odesa Oblast, was set to expire on March 18.