Amid Conflict, Russia and Ukraine Extend Wheat Export Agreement
Russia and Ukraine extend wheat export deal amid conflict Photos/Illustrations
MOSCOW – An agreement allowing Ukraine to export millions of tons of wheat through the Black Sea has been extended despite the ongoing conflict with Russia.
However, it is unclear how long the deal will last. Ukraine pushed for 120 days, while Russia asked for 60 days. Russia has warned that it will not let the deal last much longer unless sanctions against Moscow are eased.
The UN and Turkey helped broker an export agreement in July last year following fears of a global food crisis.
Ukraine is one of the world’s top grain producers, but its access to ports on the Black Sea was blocked by Russian warships after its invasion in February last year.
Countries suffering from food insecurity, such as Yemen, rely heavily on these supplies.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a deal to extend the deal on Saturday.
“This deal is very important for the global food supply. I thank Russia and Ukraine, who spared no effort for a new extension, as well as the Secretary General of the United Nations,” he said as quoted by the BBC, Sunday (19/3/2023).
But neither Erdogan nor the United Nations clarified how long that would last. Ukraine wants it extended by another 120 days, but Russia says it is only willing to renew the pact for another 60 days.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Friday that the European Union, Britain and the United States had two months to remove any sanctions targeting Russia’s agricultural sector if they wanted the deal to go ahead.