Russia and Ukraine have agreed to extend the grain deal. This was announced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after weeks of negotiations. The timeline is still unclear: While Ankara tried to get a four-month extension and Kiev officially announced an agreement on this duration, Moscow denied it and spoke of a 60-day extension. In advance, Moscow had more demands made. The Kremlin, for example, complains that Western sanctions are hampering the export of Russian food and fertilizers, and insists on facilitating bank payments, transport logistics and insurance. In addition, Russia intends to re-use its pipeline for ammonia through Ukraine, which is currently not in operation.
Without an agreement, the agreement would have expired this Sunday. The agreement on the Black Sea Grains Initiative came about in July through the mediation of the United Nations and Turkey. It provides for the release of Ukrainian ports and a corridor in the Black Sea for grain exports. After the start of its war of aggression, Russia had blocked Ukrainian grain exports for months a year ago. The disruption in supplies following the Russian invasion drove up food prices around the world and fueled fears of a hunger crisis in poorer countries.
Russia serves itself in the fields
Meanwhile, Russia has once again shipped grain from the occupied Ukrainian territories out of the country. Wheat was exported via the port city of Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov, the Ukrainian general staff said. The Moscow-appointed head of the Zaporizhia region, Yevgeny Balitsky, had previously stated on Telegram that there were plans to export two million tons of grain by ship and rail from the Russian-controlled part of the region. Half a million tons are intended for personal use.
Large parts of the arable land in the Zaporizhia and Cherson regions of southern Ukraine were conquered by Russia a good year ago. Russian exports mean that Ukraine is missing out on important export revenues.
jj/uh/wa/ust (afp, dpa, rtr)